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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume4,chapter12)

2006-08-22 18:35

  Chapter 12

  O! there is a sweet aera in the life of man, when (the brain being tender and fibrillous, and more like pap than any thing else)—a story read of two fond lovers, separated from each other by cruel parents, and by still more cruel destiny—

  Amandus—He

  Amanda—She—

  each ignorant of the other‘s course,

  He—east

  She—west

  Amandus taken captive by the Turks, and carried to the emperor of Morocco‘s court, where the princess of Morocco falling in love with him, keeps him twenty years in prison for the love of the his Amanda.—

  She—(Amanda) all the time wandering barefoot, and with dishevell‘d hair, o’er rocks and mountains, enquiring for Amandus!—Amandus! Amandus!—making every hill and valley to echo back his name— Amandus! Amandus! at every town and city, sitting down forlorn at the gate—Has Amandus!—has my Amandus enter‘d?—till,—going round, and round, and round the world— chance unexpected bringing them at the same moment of the night, though by different ways, to the gate of Lyons, their native city, and each in well- known accents calling out aloud,

  Is Amandus

  Is my Amanda still alive?

  they fly into each other‘s arms, and both drop down dead for joy.

  There is a soft aera in every gentle mortal‘s life, where such a story affords more pabulum to the brain, than all the Frusts, and Crusts, and Rusts of antiquity, which travellers can cook up for it.

  —‘Twas all that stuck on the right side of the cullender in my own, of what Spon and others, in their accounts of Lyons, had strained into it; and finding, moreover, in some Itinerary, but in what God knows—That sacred to the fidelity of Amandus and Amanda, a tomb was built without the gates, where, to this hour, lovers called upon them to attest their truths—I never could get into a scrape of that kind in my life, but this tomb of the lovers would, somehow or other, come in at the close—nay such a kind of empire had it establish’d over me, that I could seldom think or speak of Lyons—and sometimes not so much as see even a Lyons-waistcoat, but this remnant of antiquity would present itself to my fancy; and I have often said in my wild way of running on—tho‘ I fear with some irreverence—’I thought this shrine (neglected as it was) as valuable as that of Mecca, and so little short, except in wealth, of the Santa Casa itself, that some time or other, I would go a pilgrimage (though I had no other business at Lyons) on purpose to pay it a visit.‘

  In my list, therefore, of Videnda at Lyons, this, tho‘ last,—was not, you see, least; so taking a dozen or two of longer strides than usual cross my room, just whilst it passed my brain, I walked down calmly into the basse cour, in order to sally forth; and having called for my bill—as it was uncertain whether I should return to my inn, I had paid it—had moreover given the maid ten sous, and was just receiving the dernier compliments of Monsieur Le Blanc, for a pleasant voyage down the Rhone—when I was stopped at the gate—

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