Calais 3

The Remise Door

I had never quitted the lady’s hand all this time; and had held it so long, that it would have been indecent to let it go, without first pressing it to my lips: the blood and spirits, which had suffered a revulsion from her, crouded back to her, as I did it.

Now the two Travellers who had spoke to me in the coach-yard, 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 Traveller, ask’d 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 Traveller—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 Monk’s little horn box to take a pinch of snuff—I made them a quiet bow, and wishing them a good passage to Dover—they left us alone.—

—Now where would be the harm, said I to myself, if I was to beg of this distressed1 lady to accept of half of my chaise?—and what mighty mischief could ensue?

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 what she is, said Caution—or what scrapes the affair may draw you into, whisper’d Cowardice.

Depend upon it, Yorick! said Discretion, ’twill be said you went off with a mistress, and came by assignation to Calais for that purpose.

—You can never after, cried Hypocrisy aloud, shew your face in the world—or rise, quoth Meanness, in the church—or be any thing in it, said Pride, but a lousy prebendary.

But ’tis a civil thing, said I—and 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 adamant—I turned 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 walk’d with her cheek half resting upon the palm of her hand—with the slow, short-measur’d step of thoughtfulness, and with her eyes, as she went step by step, fix’d 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 processe, 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 walk’d musing on one side.

In The Street


Having, on first sight of the lady, settled the affair in my fancy, “that she was of the better order of beings”—and then laid it down as a second axiom, as indisputable as the first, That she was a widow, and wore a character of distress—I went no further; I got ground enough for the situation which pleased me—and had she remained close beside my elbow till midnight, I should have held true to my system, and considered her only under that general idea.

She had scarce got twenty paces distant from me, ere something within me called out for a more particular inquiry—it brought on the idea of a further separation—I might possibly never see her more—the heart

  By PanEris using Melati.

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