Laurence Sterne. (1713–1768). A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
The Desobligeant. Calais
|WHEN a man is discontented with himself, it has one advantage however, that it puts him into an excellent frame of mind for making a bargain. Now there being no traveling through France and Italy without a chaise—and nature generally prompting us to the thing we are fittest for, I walk’d out into the coachyard to buy or hire something of that kind to my purpose: an old Desobligeant 1 in the furthest corner of the court hit my fancy at first sight, so I instantly got into it, and, finding it in tolerable harmony with my feelings, I ordered the waiter to call Monsieur Dessein, the master of the hotel.—But Monsieur Dessein being gone to vespers, and not caring to face the Franciscan, whom I saw on the opposite side of the court, in conference with a lady just arrived at the inn—I drew the taffeta curtain betwixt us, and being determined to write my journey, I took out my pen and ink, and wrote the preface to it in the Desobligeant.
|Note 1. A chaise, so called in France, from its holding but one person. [back]