|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
|In Languedoc: An Idyl|
|By Laurence Sterne (17131768)|
|TWAS in the road betwixt Nismes and Lunel, where there is the best Muscatto wine in all Franceand which, by-the-by, belongs to the honest canons of Montpellier; and foul befall the man who has drank it at their table, who grudges them a drop of it.|| 1|
| The sun was setthey had done their work; the nymphs had tied up their hair afresh, and the swains were preparing for a carousal. My mule made a dead point.Tis the fife and tambourin, said I.Im frightened to death, quoth he.They are running at the ring of pleasure, said I, giving him a prick.By St. Boogar, and all the saints at the back-side of the door of purgatory, said he (making the same resolution with the Abbess of Andouillets), Ill not go a step further.Tis very well, sir, said I: I will never argue a point with one of your family as long as I live. So leaping off his back, and kicking off one boot into this ditch and tother into thatIll take a dance, said I, so stay you here.|| 2|
| A sunburnt daughter of labor rose up from the group to meet me, as I advanced towards them; her hairwhich was a dark chestnut, approaching rather to a blackwas tied up in a knot, all but a single tress.|| 3|
| We want a cavalier, said she, holding out both her hands as if to offer them.And a cavalier ye shall have, said I, taking hold of both of them.|| 4|
| Hadst thou, Nannette, been arrayed like a duchess! But that cursed slit in thy petticoat!|| 5|
| Nannette cared not for it.|| 6|
| We could not have done without you, said she, letting go one hand, with self-taught politeness, leading me up with the other.|| 7|
| A lame youth, whom Apollo had recompensed with a pipe, and to which he had added a tambourin of his own accord, ran sweetly over the prelude, as he sat upon the bank.Tie me up this tress instantly, said Nannette, putting a piece of string into my hand. It taught me to forget I was a stranger.The whole knot fell down. We had been seven years acquainted.|| 8|
| The youth struck the note upon the tambourin, his pipe followed, and off we bounded.The deuce take that slit!
| The sister of the youth who had stolen her voice from heaven sung alternately with her brother, twas a Gascoigne roundelay|
The nymphs joined in unison, and their swains an octave below them.
| ||Viva la joia!|
|Fidon la tristessa!|| 10|
| I would have given a crown to have it sewed up: Nannette would not have given a sous; Viva la joia! was in her lipsViva la joia! was in her eyes. A transient spark of amity shot across the space betwixt us. She looked amiable. Why could I not live and end my days thus? Just Disposer of our joys and sorrows, cried I, why could not a man sit down in the lap of content here, and dance and sing, and say his prayers, and go to heaven with this nut-brown maid? Capriciously did she bend her head on one side, and dance up insidious. Then tis time to dance off, quoth I.|| 11|