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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume4,chapter23)

2006-08-22 18:35

  Chapter 23

  I had now the whole south of France, from the banks of the Rhone to those of the Garonne, to traverse upon my mule at my own leisure—at my own leisure—for I had left Death, the Lord knows—and He only—how far behind me—‘I have followed many a man thro’ France, quoth he—but never at this mettlesome rate.‘—Still he followed,—and still I fled him—but I fled him cheerfully—still he pursued—but, like one who pursued his prey without hope—as he lagg’d, every step he lost, softened his looks—why should I fly him at this rate?

  So notwithstanding all the commissary of the post-office had said, I changed the mode of my travelling once more; and, after so precipitate and rattling a course as I had run, I flattered my fancy with thinking of my mule, and that I should traverse the rich plains of Languedoc upon his back, as slowly as foot could fall.

  There is nothing more pleasing to a traveller—or more terrible to travel- writers, than a large rich plain; especially if it is without great rivers or bridges; and presents nothing to the eye, but one unvaried picture of plenty: for after they have once told you, that ‘tis delicious! or delightful! (as the case happens)—that the soil was grateful, and that nature pours out all her abundance, &c. . .they have then a large plain upon their hands, which they know not what to do with—and which is of little or no use to them but to carry them to some town; and that town, perhaps of little more, but a new place to start from to the next plain— and so on.

  —This is most terrible work; judge if I don‘t manage my plains better.

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