Fiction > Harvard Classics > Laurence Sterne > A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy > 16. The Remise. Door. Calais
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Laurence Sterne. (1713–1768).  A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction.  1917.
  
16. The Remise. Door. Calais
  
C’EST bien comique, ’t is very droll, said the lady smiling, from the reflection that this was the second time we had been left together by a parcel of nonsensical contingencies—c’ est bien comique, said she.—   1
  —There wants nothing, said I, to make it so, but the comic use which the gallantry of a Frenchman would put it to—to make love the first moment, and an offer of his person the second.   2
  ’T is their fort, replied the lady.   3
  It is supposed so at least—and how it has come to pass, continued I, I know not: but they have certainly got the credit of understanding more of love, and making it better than any other nation upon earth; but for my own part, I think them errant bunglers, and in truth the worst set of marksmen that ever tried Cupid’s patience.   4
  —To think of making love by sentiments!   5
  I should as soon think of making a genteel suit of clothes out of remnants:—and to do it—pop—at first sight by declaration—is submitting the offer and themselves with it, to be sifted with all their pours and contres, by an unheated mind.   6
  The lady attended as if she expected I should go on.   7
  Consider then, Madam, continued I, laying my hand upon hers—   8
  That grave people hate Love for the name’s sake—   9
  That selfish people hate it for their own—  10
  Hypocrites for heaven’s—  11
  And that all of us, both old and young, being ten times worse frighten’d than hurt by the very report—What a want of knowledge in this branch of commerce a man betrays, who ever lets the word come out of his lips, till an hour or two at least after the time that his silence upon it becomes tormenting. A course of small, quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm—nor so vague as to be misunderstood—with now and then a look of kindness, and little or nothing said upon it—leaves Nature for your mistress, and she fashions it to her mind—  12
  Then I solemnly declare, said the lady, blushing—you have been making love to me all this while.  13

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