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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume4,chapter19)

2006-08-22 18:35

  Chapter 19

  When we arrived at the chaise-vamper‘s house, both the house and the shop were shut up; it was the eighth of September, the nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God—

  —Tantarra-ra-tan-tivi—the whole world was gone out a May-poling—frisking here—capering there—no body cared a button for me or my remarks; so I sat me down upon a bench by the door, philosophating upon my condition: by a better fate than usually attends me, I had not waited half an hour, when the mistress came in to take the papilliotes from off her hair, before she went to the May-poles—

  The French women, by the bye, love May-poles, á la folie—that is, as much as their matins—give ‘em but a May-pole, whether in May, June, July or September—they never count the times—down it goes—’tis meat, drink, washing, and lodging to ‘em—and had we but the policy, an’ please your worships (as wood is a little scarce in France), to send them but plenty of May-poles—

  The women would set them up; and when they had done, they would dance round them (and the men for company) till they were all blind.

  The wife of the chaise-vamper stepp‘d in, I told you, to take the papilliotes from off her hair—the toilet stands still for no man—so she jerk’d off her cap, to begin with them as she open‘d the door, in doing which, one of them fell upon the ground—I instantly saw it was my own writing—

  O Seigneur! cried I—you have got all my remarks upon your head, Madam!— J‘en suis bien mortifiée, said she—’tis well, thinks I, they have stuck there—for could they have gone deeper, they would have made such confusion in a French woman‘s noddle—She had better have gone with it unfrizled, to the day of eternity.

  Tenez—said she—so without any idea of the nature of my suffering, she took them from her curls, and put them gravely one by one into my hat—one was twisted this way—another twisted that—ey! by my faith; and when they are published, quoth I,—

  They will be worse twisted still.

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