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The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent.(Volume3,chapter92)

2006-08-22 18:32

  Chapter 92

  There is not a town in all France which, in my opinion, looks better in the map, than Montreuil;—I own, it does not look so well in the book of post- roads; but when you come to see it—to be sure it looks most pitifully.

  There is one thing, however, in it at present very handsome; and that is, the inn-keeper‘s daughter: She has been eighteen months at Amiens, and six at Paris, in going through her classes; so knits, and sews, and dances, and does the little coquetries very well.—

  —A slut! in running them over within these five minutes that I have stood looking at her, she has let fall at least a dozen loops in a white thread stocking—yes, yes—I see, you cunning gipsy!—‘tis long and taper—you need not pin it to your knee—and that ’tis your own—and fits you exactly.—

  —That Nature should have told this creature a word about a statue‘s thumb!

  —But as this sample is worth all their thumbs—besides, I have her thumbs and fingers in at the bargain, if they can be any guide to me,—and as Janatone withal (for that is her name) stands so well for a drawing—may I never draw more, or rather may I draw like a draught-horse, by main strength all the days of my life,—if I do not draw her in all her proportions, and with as determined a pencil, as if I had her in the wettest drapery.—

  —But your worships chuse rather that I give you the length, breadth, and perpendicular height of the great parish-church, or drawing of the facade of the abbey of Saint Austreberte which has been transported from Artois hither—every thing is just I suppose as the masons and carpenters left them,—and if the belief in Christ continues so long, will be so these fifty years to come—so your worships and reverences may all measure them at your leisures—but he who measures thee, Janatone, must do it now—thou carriest the principles of change within thy frame; and considering the chances of a transitory life, I would not answer for thee a moment; ere twice twelve months are passed and gone, thou mayest grow out like a pumpkin, and lose thy shapes—or thou mayest go off like a flower, and lose thy beauty—nay, thou mayest go off like a hussy—and lose thyself.—I would not answer for my aunt Dinah, was she alive—‘faith, scarce for her picture—were it but painted by Reynolds.

  But if I go on with my drawing, after naming that son of Apollo, I‘ll be shot—

  So you must e‘en be content with the original; which, if the evening is fine in passing thro’ Montreuil, you will see at your chaise-door, as you change horses: but unless you have as bad a reason for haste as I have—you had better stop:—She has a little of the devote: but that, sir, is a terce to a nine in your favour—

  L…… help me! I could not count a single point: so had been piqued and repiqued, and capotted to the devil.

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