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dle-looked wiftfully at the little arrangement he had made -and then gave a figh.
THE fimplicity of his grief drew numbers about him, and La Fleur among the reft, whilft the horses were getting ready; as I continued fitting in the poft-chaife, I could fee and hear over their heads.
He said he had come laft from Spain, where he had been from the furtheft borders of Franconia; and had got fo far on his return home, when his afs died. Every one seemed defirous to know what bufinefs could have taken fo old and poor a man fo far a journey from his own home. IT had pleafed heaven, he faid, to blefs him with three. fons, the finest lads in all Germany; but having in one week loft two of them by the small-pox, and the youngest falling ill of the same diftemper, he was afraid of being bereft of them all, and made a vow, if Heaven would not take him from him also, he would go in gratitude to St. Iago in Spain.
WHEN the mourner got thus far in his story, he stopp'd to pay nature her tribute-and wept bitterly.
HE faid Heaven had accepted the conditions; and that he had fet out from his cottage with this poor creaturé, who had been a patient partner of his journey-that it had eat the fame bread with him all the way, and was unto him as a friend.
EVERY body who ftood about, heard the poor fellow with concern-La Fleur offered him money-The mourner faid he did not want it-it was not the value of the afs-but the lofs of him-The afs, le faid, he was affured, loved him-and upon this told them a long ftory of a mifchance upon their paffage over the Pyrenean mountains, which had feparated them from each other three days; during which
BOOK II. time the afs had fought him as much as he had fought the afs, and that he had neither fcarce eat or drank till they
THOU haft one comfort, friend, faid I, at least, in the lofs of thy poor beaft; I am fure thou hast been a merciful mafter to him-Alas! faid the mourner, I thought fo, when he was alive-but now he is dead I think otherwifeI fear the weight of myself and my afflictions together have been too much for him-they have fhortened the poor creature's days, and I fear I have them to answer for.-Shame on the world! faid I to myself-Did we love each other, as this poor foul but lov'd his ass-t'would be fomething.STERNE.
HEN ftates and empires have their periods of declenfion, and feel in their turns what distress and poverty is I ftop not to tell the causes which gradually brought the house d'E**** in Britany into decay. The Marquis d'E**** had fought up against his condition with great firmness; wifhing to preserve and still fhew to the world fome little fragments of what his ancestors had been -their indifcretion had put it out of his power. There was enough left for the little exigencies of obfcurity-But he had two boys who looked up to him for light-he thought they deferved it. He had tried his fword-it could not open the way-the mounting was too expensive -and fimple œconomy was not a match for it-there was no refource but commerce.
In any other province in France, fave Britany, this was
fmiting the root for ever of the little tree his pride and affection wished to fee re-bloffom-But in Britany, there being a provision for this, he availed himself of it; and taking an occafion when the ftates were affembled at Rennes, the Marquis, attended with his two fons, entered the court; and having pleaded the right of an ancient law of the duchy, which, though feldom claimed, he faid, was no less in force; he took his sword from his fide-Here-said he -take it; and be trufty guardians of it, till better times. put me in condition to reclaim it.
THE prefident accepted the Marquis's fword-he ftaid a few minutes to fee it deposited in the archives of his house -and departed.
THE Marquis and his whole family embarked the next day for Martinico, and in about nineteen or twenty years of fuccessful application to bufinefs, with fome unlooked for bequeft from diftant branches of his houfe-returned home to reclaim his nobility and to fupport it.
It was an incident of good fortune which will never happen to any traveller, but a fentimental one, that I fhould be at Rennes at the very time of this folemn requifition: I call it folemn-it was fo to me.
THE Marquis entered the court with his whole family; he fupported his lady-his eldeft fon fupported his fifter, and his youngest was at the other extreme of the line next his mother-he put his handkerchief to his face twiceTHERE was a dead filence. When the Marquis had approached within fix paces of the tribunal, he gave the Marchioness to his youngeft fon, and advancing three steps before his family-he reclaimed his fword.-His fword was given him, and the moment he got it into his hand he drew it almost out of the scabbard-it was the fhining face of a E 3
friend he had once given up. He looked attentively a long time at it, beginning at the hilt, as if to fee whether it was the fame when obferving a little ruft which it had contracted near the point, he brought it near his eye, and bending his head down over it-I think I faw a tear fall upon the place: I could not be deceived by what followed.
"I SHALL find, faid he, fome other way to get it off." WHEN the Marquis had faid this, he returned his sword into its fcabbard, made a bow to the guardian of it-and, with his wife and daughter and his two fons following him, walked out.
O How I envied him his feelings!
CHA P. XI.
HEY were the sweetest notes I ever heard; and I inftantly let down the fore glass to hear them more distinctly-'Tis Maria; said the poftillion, obferving I was liftening-Poor Maria, continued he, (leaning his body on one fide to let me fee her, for he was in a line between us) is fitting upon a bank playing her vefpers upon her pipe, with her little goat befide her.
THE young fellow uttered this with an accent and a look fo perfectly in tune to a feeling heart, that I instantly made a vow, I would give him a four and twenty fous piece, when I got to Moulines
AND who is poor Maria? said I.
THE love and pity of all the villages around us; faid the poftillion-it is but three years ago, that the fun did not
fhine upon fo fair, fo quick-witted, and amiable a maid; and better fate did Maria deferve, than to have her banns forbid, by the intrigues of the curate of the parish who published them
He was going on, when Maria, who had made a fhort pause, put the pipe to her mouth and began the air againthey were the fame notes ;-yet were ten times sweeter: It is the evening service to the Virgin, faid the young manbut who has taught her to play it—or how she came by her pipe, no one knows; we think that Heaven has affifted her in both; for ever fince fhe has been unfettled in her mind, it seems her only confolation-she has never once had the pipe out of her hand, but plays that service upon it almost night and day.
THE poftillion delivered this with so much difcretion and natural eloquence, that I could not help decyphering fomething in his face above his condition, and should have fifted out his hiftory, had not poor Maria taken fuch full poffeffion of me.
We had got up by this time almoft to the bank where Maria was fitting: fhe was in a thin white jacket, with her hair, all but two treffes, drawn up in a filk net, with a few olive leaves twisted a little fantastically on one fide—she was beautiful; and if ever I felt the full force of an honeft heart-ache, it was the moment I faw her
GOD help her! poor damfel! above a hundred masses, faid the postillion, have been said in the feveral parish churches and convents around for her,but without effect; we have still hopes, as she is fenfible for fhort intervals, that the Virgin at last will restore her to herself; but her parents, who know her beft, are hopeless upon that fcore, and think her fenfes are loft for ever.