in less than five minutes had pull’d out his fife, and leading off the dance himself with the first note, set the fille de chambre, the Maitre d’Hôtel, the cook, the scullion, and all the houshold—dogs and cats—besides an old monkey, a’dancing: I suppose there never was a merrier kitchen since the flood.

Madame de L*** in passing from her brother’s apartments to her own, hearing so much jollity below stairs,3 rung up her fille de chambre to ask about it; and hearing it was the English gentleman’s servant who had set the whole house merry with his pipe, she order’d him up.

As the poor fellow could not present himself empty, he had loaden’d himself in going up stairs with a thousand compliments to Madame de L*** on the part of his master—added a long Apocrypha of inquiries after Madame de L***’s health—told her, that Monsieur his master was au desespoire for her re-establishment from the fatigues of her journey—and to close all, that Monsieur had received the letter, which Madame had done him the honour—and he has done me the honour, said Madame de L***, interrupting La Fleur, to send a Billet in return.

Madame de L*** had said this with such a tone of reliance upon the fact, that La Fleur had not power to disappoint her expectations—he trembled for my honour—and possibly might not altogether be unconcern’d for his own, as a man capable of being attached to a master who could be a wanting en egards vis-à- vis d’une femme; so that when Madame de L*** asked La Fleur if he had brought a Letter, O qu’oui, said La Fleur: so laying down his hat upon the ground, and taking hold of the flap of his right-side pocket with his left hand, he began to search for the Letter with his right,—then contrary-wise—Diable!—then sought every pocket—pocket by pocket, round, not forgetting his fob—Peste!—then La Fleur emptied them upon the floor—pulled out a dirty cravat—a handkerchief—a comb—a whip-lash—a night-cap—then gave a peep into his hat—Quelle etourderie! He had left the letter upon the table in the Auberge—he would run for it, and be back with it in three minutes.

I had just finished my supper when La Fleur came in to give me an account of his adventure: he told the whole story simply as it was; and only added, That if Monsieur had forgot (par hazard) to answer Madame’s letter, the arrangement gave him an opportunity to recover the faux pas—and if not: that things were only as they were.

Now I was not altogether sure of my etiquette, whether I ought to have wrote or no; but if I had—a devil himself could not have been angry: ’twas but the officious zeal of a well-meaning creature for my honour; and however he might have mistook the road—or embarrassed me in so doing—his heart was in no fault—I was under no necessity to write—and what weigh’d more than all—he did not look as if he had done amiss.

—’Tis all very well, La Fleur, said I—’twas sufficient. La Fleur flew out of the room like lightening and return’d with pen, ink and paper, in his hand; and coming up to the table laid them close before me with such a delight in his countenance, that I could not help taking up the pen.

I begun and begun again; and though I had nothing to say, and that nothing might have been express’d in half a dozen lines, I made half a dozen different beginnings, and could no way please myself.

In short, I was in no mood to write.4

La Fleur stepp’d out and brought a little water in a glass to dilute my ink—then fetch’d sand and seal- wax—It was all one: I wrote and blotted and tore off, and burnt, and wrote again—Le Diable l’emporte! said I half to myself—I cannot write this self-same letter; throwing the pen down despairingly as I said it.

As soon as I had cast down the pen, La Fleur advanced with the most respectful carriage up to the table, and making a thousand apologies for the Liberty he was going to take, told me he had a Letter in his pocket wrote by a drummer in his regiment to a corporal’s wife, which he durst say would suit the occasion.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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