Fiction > Harvard Classics > Laurence Sterne > A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy > 9. In the Street. Calais
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Laurence Sterne. (1713–1768).  A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction.  1917.
  
9. In the Street. Calais
  
IT must needs to be a hostile kind of a world, when the buyer (if it be but of a sorry post-chaise) cannot go forth with the seller thereof into the street, to terminate the difference betwixt them, but he instantly falls into the same frame of mind, and views his conventionist with the same sort of eye, as if he was going along with him to Hyde Park Corner to fight a duel. For my own part, being but a poor swordsman, and no way a match for Monsieur Dessein, I felt the rotation of all the movements within me to which the situation is incident.—I looked at Monsieur Dessein through and through—ey’d him as he walked along in profile—then, en face—thought he look’d like a Jew—then a Turk—disliked his wig—curs’d him by my gods—wish’d him at the devil—   1
  —And is all this to be lighted up in the heart for a beggarly account of three or four louis d’ors, which is the most I can be overreach’d in?—Base passion! said I, turning myself about, as a man naturally does upon a sudden reverse of sentiment—base ungentle passion! thy hand is against every man, and every man’s hand against thee—Heaven forbid! said she, raising her hand up to her forehead, for I had turned full in front upon the lady whom I had seen in conference with the monk—she had followed us unperceived.—Heaven forbid, indeed! said I, offering her my own—she had a black pair of silk gloves, open only at the thumb and two forefingers, so accepted it without reserve—and I led her up to the door of the Remise.   2
  Monsieur Dessein had diabled the key above fifty times, before he found out he had come with a wrong one in his hand: we were as impatient as himself to have it open’d; and so attentive to the obstacle, that I continued holding her hand almost without knowing it: so that Monsieur Dessein left us together, with her hand in mine, and with our faces turned towards the door of the Remise, and said he would be back in five minutes.   3
  Now a colloquy of five minutes, in such a situation, is worth one of as many ages, with your faces turned towards the street. In the latter case, ’t is drawn from the objects and occurrences without—when your eyes are fixed upon a dead blank—you draw purely from yourselves. A silence of a single moment upon Monsieur Dessein’s leaving us, had been fatal to the situation—she had infallibly turned about—so I begun the conversation instantly.   4
  But what were the temptations (as I write not to apologize for the weaknesses of my heart in this tour,—but to give an account of them) shall be described with the same simplicity with which I felt them.   5

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