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amuse and even improve us; for it is the easiest thing in the world to get into all the best company at Paris.'
"My wife had no sooner ended her speech, which I easily perceived to be the result of meditation, than my daughter exerted all her little eloquence in seconding her mother's motion. 'Ay, dear papa,' said she, ' let us go with brother to Paris; it will be the charmingest thing in the world; we shall see all the newest fashions there; I shall learn to dance of Marseille; in short, I shall be quite another creature after it. You see how my cousin Kitty was improved by going to Paris last year; I hardly knew her again when she came back: do, dear papa, let us go.'
"The absurdity of the proposal struck me at first, and I foresaw a thousand inconveniences in it, though not half so many as I have since felt. However, knowing that direct contradiction, though supported by the best arguments, was not the likeliest method to convert a female disputant, I seemed a little to doubt, and contented myself with saying, ' That I was not, at first sight at least, sensible of the many advantages which they had enumerated; but that, on the contrary, I apprehended a great deal of trouble in the journey, and many inconveniences in consequence of it. That I had not observed many men of my age considerably improved by their travels; but that I had lately seen many women of hers, become very ridiculous by theirs; and that for my daughter, as she had not a fine fortune, I saw no necessity of her being a fine lady.' Here the girl interrupted me, with saying, ' For that very reason, papa, I should be a fine lady. Being in fashion is often as good as being a fortune; and I have known air, dress, and accomplishments, stand many a woman instead of a fortune.' 'Nay to be sure,' added my wife, ' the girl is in the right in that; and if with her figure she gets a certain air and manner, I cannot see why she may not reasonably hope to be as advantageously married as Lady Betty Townly, or the two Miss Bellairs, who had none of them such good fortunes.' I found by all this, that the attack upon me was a concerted one, and that both my wife and daughter were strongly infected with that migrating distemper, which has of late been so epidemical in this kingdom, and which annually carries such numbers of our private families to Paris, to expose themselves there as English, and here, after their return, as French. Insomuch that I am assured that the French call those swarms of English which now, in a manner, overrun France, a second incursion of the Goths and Vandals.
"I endeavoured as well as I could to avert this impending folly, by delays and gentle persuasions, but in vain; the attacks upon me were daily repeated, and sometimes enforced by tears. At last I yielded, from mere good-nature, to the joint importunities of a wife and daughter whom I loved; not to mention the love of ease and domestic quiet, which is, much oftener than we care to own, the true motive of many things that we either do or omit.
"My consent being thus extorted, our setting out was pressed. The journey wanted no preparations; we should find every thing in France. My daughter, who spoke some French, and my son's governor, who was a Swiss, were to be our interpreters upon the road; and when we came to Paris, a French servant or two would make all easy.
"But, as if Providence had a mind to punish our folly, our whole journey was a series of distresses. We had not sailed a league from Dover, before a violent storm arose, in which we had like to have been lost. Nothing could equal our fears but our sickness, which perhaps lessened them: at last we got into Calais, where the inexorable custom-house officers took away half the few things which we had carried with us. We hired some chaises, which proved to be old and shattered ones, and broke down with us at least every ten miles. Twice we were overturned, and some of us hurt, though there are no bad roads in France. At length, the sixth day, we got to Paris, where our banker had provided a very good lodging for us; that is, very good rooms, very well furnished, and very dirty. Here the great scene opens. My wife and daughter, who had been a good deal disheartened by our distresses, recovered their spirits, and grew extremely impatient for a consultation of the necessary trades-people, when luckily our banker and his lady, informed of our arrival, came to make us a visit.—He graciously brought me five thousand livres, which he assured me was not more than what would be necessary for our first setting out, as he called it; while his wife was pointing out to mine the most compendious method of spending three times as much. I told him that I hoped that sum would be very near sufficient for the whole time; to which he answered coolly, ' No, sir, nor six times that sum, if you propose, as to be sure you do, to appear here honnetement.' This I confess startled me a good deal; and I called out to nay wife, ' Do you hear that, child!' She replied, unmoved, ' Yes, my dear; but now that we are here, there is no help for it; it is but for once, upon an extraordinary occasion; and one would not care to appear among strangers like scrubs!'
I made no answer to this solid reasoning, but resolved within myself to shorten our stay, and lessen our follies as much as I could. My banker, after having charged himself with the care of procuring me a carrosse de remise and a valet de place for the next day, which in plain English is a hired coach and a footman, invited us to pass all the next day at his house, where he assured us that we should not meet with bad company. He was to carry me and my son before dinner to see the public buildings, and his lady was to call upon my wife and daughter to carry them to the genteelest shops, in order to fit them out to appear honnetement. The next morning I amused myself very well with seeing, while my wife and daughter amused themselves still better by preparing themselves for being seen, till we met at dinner at our banker's: who, by way of sample of the excellent company to which he was to introduce us, presented to us an Irish abbe, and an Irish captain of Clare's; two attainted Scotch fugitives, and a young Scotch surgeon who studied midwifery at the Hotel Dieu. It is true, he lamented that sir Harbottle Dumper and sir Clotworthy Guzzledown with their families, whom he had invited' to meet us, happened unfortunately to have been engaged to go and drink brandy at Nucilly. Though this company sounds but indifferently, and though we should have been very sorry to have kept it in London, I can assure you, Sir, that it was the best we kept the whole time we were at Paris.
"I will omit many circumstances which gave roe uneasiness, though they would probably afford some entertainment to your readers, that I may hasten to the most material ones.
"In about three days the several mechanics, who were charged with the care of disguising my wife and daughter, brought home their respective parts of this transformation, in order that they might appear honnetement. More than the whole morning was employed in this operation; for we did not sit down to dinner till near five o'clock. When my wife and daughter came at last into the eating room, where I had waited for them at least two hours, I was so struck with their transformation, that I could neither conceal nor express my astonishment. 'Now, my dear,' said my wife, 'we can appear a little like Christians.' 'And strollers too,' replied I; 'for such have I seen, at Southwark-fair, the respectable Sysigambis, and the lovely Parysatis. This cannot surely be serious!' 'Very serious, depend upon it, my dear,' said my1 wife; 'and pray, by the way, what may there be ridiculous in it? No such Sysigambis neither,' continued she; ' Betty is but sixteen, and you know I had her at four-and-twenty.' As I found that the name of Sysigambis, carrying an idea of age along with it, was offensive to my wife, I waved the parallel; and addressing myself in common to my wife and daughter, I told them, ' I perceived that there was a painter now at Paris, who coloured much higher than Rigault, though he did not paint near so like; for that I could hardly have guessed them to be the pictures of themselves.' To this they both answered at once, 'That red was not paint; that no colour in the world wasfard but white, of which they protested they had none.' 'But how do you like my pompon, papa!' continued my daughter; ' is it not a charming one? I think it is prettier than mamma's.' 'It may, child, for any thing that I know; because I do not know what part of all this frippery thy pompon is.' * It is this, papa,' replied the girl, putting up her hand to her head, and showing