I had once lost my portmanteau from behind my chaise, and twice got out in the rain, and one of the times up to the knees in dirt, to help the postilion to tie it on, without being able to find out what was wanting—Nor was it till I got to Montriul,1 upon the landlord’s asking me if I wanted not a servant, that it occurred to me, That that was the very thing.

A servant! That I do, most sadly quoth I—Because, Monsieur, said the landlord, there is a clever young fellow who would be very proud of the honour to serve an Englishman—But why an English one, more than any other?—They are so generous, said the landlord—I’ll be shot if this is not a livre out of my pocket, quoth I to myself, this very night—But they have wherewithal to be so, Monsieur, added he—Set down one livre more for that, quoth I—It was but last night, said the landlord, qu’un mylord anglois presentoit un ecu a la fille de chambre—Tant pis, pour Madamoiselle Janatone, said I.

Now Janatone, being the landlord’s daughter, and the landlord supposing I was young in French, took the liberty to inform me, I should not have said tant pis—but, tant mieux: tant mieux toujours, Monsieur, said he, when there is any thing to be got—tant pis, when there is nothing. It comes to the same thing, said I. Pardonnez moi, said the landlord.

I cannot take a fitter opportunity to observe once for all, that tant pis and tant mieux being two of the great hinges in French conversation, a stranger would do well to set himself right in the use of them, before he gets to Paris.

A prompt French Marquis at our ambassador’s table demanded of Mr. H—, if he was H— the poet? No, said H— mildly—Tant pis, replied the Marquis.

It is H—the historian, said another—Tant mieux, said the Marquis. And Mr. H—,2 who is a man of an excellent heart, return’d thanks for both.

When the landlord had set me right in this matter, he called in La Fleur,3 which was the name of the young man he had spoke of—saying only first, That as for his talents, he would presume to say nothing—Monsieur was the best judge what would suit him; but for the fidelity of La Fleur, he would stand responsible in all he was worth.

The landlord delivered this in a manner which instantly set my mind to the business I was upon—and La Fleur, who stood waiting without, in that breathless expectation which every son of Nature of us have felt in our turns, came in.


I am apt to be taken with all kinds of people at first sight; but never more so, than when a poor devil comes to offer his service to so poor a devil as myself; and as I know this weakness, I always suffer my judgment to draw back something on that very account—and this more or less, according to the mood I am in, and the case—and I may add the gender too, of the person I am to govern.

When La Fleur enter’d the room, after every discount I could make for my soul, the genuine look and air of the fellow determined the matter at once in his favour; so I hired him first—and then began to inquire what he could do: But I shall find out his talents, quoth I, as I want them—besides, a Frenchman can do everything.

Now poor La Fleur could do nothing in the world but beat a drum, and play a march or two upon the fife. I was determined to make his talents do; and can’t say my weakness was ever so insulted by my wisdom, as in the attempt.

La Fleur had set out early in life, as gallantly most Frenchmen do, with serving for a few years; at the end of which, having satisfied the sentiment, and found, moreover, That the honour of beating a drum

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