Sunday, December 21, 2014

Page 385 (14.731-769) "smalls, smote... maturer years. But"

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smalls, smote himself bravely below the diaphragm, exclaiming with an admirable droll mimic of Mother Grogan (the most excellent creature of her sex though 'tis pity she's a trollop): There's a belly that never bore a bastard.

This was so happy a conceit that it renewed the storm of mirth and threw the whole room into the most violent agitations of delight.

The spry rattle had run on in the same vein of mimicry but for some larum in the antechamber.

Here the listener, who was none other than the Scotch student, a little fume of a fellow, blond as tow, congratulated in the liveliest fashion with the young gentleman and, interrupting the narrative at a salient point, having desired his visavis with a polite beck to have the obligingness to pass him a flagon of cordial waters at the same time by a questioning poise of the head (a whole century of polite breeding had not achieved so nice a gesture), to which was united an equivalent but contrary balance of the bottle, asked the narrator as plainly as was ever done in words if he might treat him with a cup of it. Mais bien sûr, noble stranger, said he cheerily, et mille compliments. That you may and very opportunely.

There wanted nothing but this cup to crown my felicity.

But, gracious heaven, was I left with but a crust in my wallet and a cupful of water from the well, my God, I would accept of them and find it in my heart to kneel down upon the ground and give thanks to the powers above for the happiness vouchsafed me by the Giver of good things.

With these words he approached the goblet to his lips, took a complacent draught of the cordial, slicked his hair and, opening his bosom, out popped a locket that hung from a silk riband, that very picture which he had cherished ever since her hand had wrote therein.

Gazing upon those features with a world of tenderness, Ah, Monsieur, he said, had you but beheld her as I did with these eyes at that affecting instant with her dainty tucker and her new coquette cap (a gift for her feastday as she told me prettily) in such an artless disorder, of so melting a tenderness, 'pon my conscience, even you, Monsieur, had been impelled by generous nature to deliver yourself wholly into the hands of such an enemy or to quit the field for ever.

I declare, I was never so touched in all my life.

God, I thank thee, as the Author of my days! Thrice happy will he be whom so amiable a creature will bless with her favours.

A sigh of affection gave eloquence to these words and, having replaced the locket in his bosom, he wiped his eye and sighed again.

Beneficent Disseminator of blessing to all Thy creatures, how great and universal must be that sweetest of Thy tyrannies which can hold in thrall the free and the bond, the simple swain and the polished coxcomb, the lover in the heyday of reckless passion and the husband of maturer years. But




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