Sentimental journey through France and Italy

Sentimental journey through France and Italy

Lawrence Stern
Sentimental journey through France and Italy
Deciding to make a trip to France and Italy, an Englishman with Shakespeare’s name Yorick landed in Calais. He reflects on travel and travelers, dividing them into different categories. He attributes himself to the category of “sensitive travelers”. A monk comes to Yorik with a request to donate to a poor monastery, which pushes the hero to think about the harm of charity. The monk receives a refusal. But wanting to make a favorable impression on the lady who met him, the hero gives him a tortoiseshell snuffbox. He offers this attractive lady to go together, as they are on the way, but, despite the mutual sympathy that has arisen, gets rejected. Arriving from Calais in Montreuil, he hires a servant,

a young Frenchman named La Fleur, a cheerful character and a cheerful disposition that greatly contribute to a pleasant journey. On the way from Montreuil to Nanpon, La Flera threw off her horse, and the host and servant drove the rest of the way together in the mail coach. In Nanpon, they meet a pilgrim, bitterly mourning the death of his donkey. At the entrance to Amiens, Yorik sees the carriage of Count L ***, in which he sits with his sister, already familiar to the hero of the lady. The servant brings him a note, in which Madame de L *** offers to continue her acquaintance and invites her on the way back to visit her in Brussels. But the hero remembers a certain Eliza, who swore allegiance to England, and after painful meditations solemnly promises himself that he will not go to Brussels, so as not to fall into temptation. La Fleur, making friends with the servant Madame de L ***, falls into her house and entertains the servants playing the flute. Hearing the music, the hostess calls him to her, where he crumbles in compliments, ostensibly on behalf of his master.
Arriving in Paris, the hero visits a barber, a conversation with which leads him to think about the distinctive features of national characters. Coming out of the barber, he goes into the shop to find out the way to Opera Covique, and gets acquainted with the charming
grisette, but, feeling that her beauty made him too impressed, hurries away. In the theater, looking at the people standing in the stalls, Yorik reflects on why there are so many dwarfs in France. From a conversation with an elderly officer sitting in the same box, he learns about some French customs that somewhat shock him. Coming out of the theater, in a bookshop, he accidentally gets acquainted with a young girl, she turns out to be the maid of Mme R ***, to whom he was going to pay a letter.
Returning to the hotel, the hero learns that he is interested in the police. He came to France without a passport, and since England and France were at that time at war, such a document was necessary. The innkeeper warns Yorick that the Bastille awaits him. The thought of the Bastille reminds him of the starling that he once released from the cage. Drawing himself a gloomy picture of imprisonment, Yorik decides to ask for the protection of the Duke de Chouazede, for which he goes to Versailles. Without waiting for the duke’s reception, he goes to Count B ***, whom he was told in the bookshop as a big fan of Shakespeare. After a brief conversation, imbued with sympathy for the hero and unspeakably struck by his name, the count himself goes to the duke and two hours later returns with a passport. Continuing the conversation, the Earl asks Yorik what he thinks of the French. In a lengthy monologue, the hero speaks highly of the representatives of this nation, but nevertheless argues that if the British had acquired even the best features of a French character, they would lose their identity, which arose from the island state of the country. The conversation ends with the Count’s invitation to have lunch with him before leaving for Italy.
At the door of his room in the hotel, Yorik finds a pretty maid, Madame R ***. The landlady sent her to find out whether he had left Paris, and if he left, he did not leave a letter for her. The girl enters the room and behaves so cute and directly that the hero begins to overcome the temptation. But he manages to overcome it, and, only escorting the girl to the hotel gates, he modestly kisses her on the cheek. On the street, Yorick’s attention was drawn to a strange man begging for alms. At the same time he held out his hat only when a woman passed by, and did not apply for alms to men. Returning to himself, the hero ponders for a long time two questions: why does not any woman refuse the petitioner and what a touching story about himself he tells everyone in the ear. But to reflect on this prevented the owner of the hotel, who invited him to move, because he took a woman for two hours. As a result, it turns out that the owner just wants to impose on him the services of familiar shopkeepers, who take some of their money for the goods sold in his hotel. Conflict with the owner is settled through the mediation of La Fler. Yorik again returns to the mystery of an extraordinary beggar; he is worried about the same question: what words can you touch the heart of any woman.
La Fleur, according to the owner of his four louis, buys a new suit and asks him to let him go all Sunday, “to take care of his lover.” Yorik is surprised that the servant managed to get a passion in Paris in such a short time. It turned out that La Fleur met with the maid of Count B ***, while the owner was busy with his passport. This is again an occasion for thinking about the national French character. “Happy people,” Stern writes, “can dance, sing and have fun, having thrown off the burden of sorrows that so oppresses the spirit of other nations.”
Yoriku accidentally gets a sheet of paper with text in Old French from the times of Rabelais and, perhaps, written with his hand. Yorik analyzes the hard-to-read text all day and translates it into English. It tells about a certain notary who, having quarreled with his wife, went to walk to the New Bridge, where the wind blew his hat off. When he, complaining of his fate, walked along a dark alley, he heard a voice calling a girl and telling her to run for the nearest notary. Entering this house, he saw an old nobleman who said that he was poor and could not pay for work, but the payment would be a will itself – it would describe the whole history of his life. This is such an extraordinary story that all humanity should get acquainted with it, and publishing it will bring a great income to the notary. Yorick had only one sheet, and he could not find out, what follows next. When La Fleur returned, it turned out that there were only three leaves, but in two of them the servant wrapped the bouquet, which was presented by the maid. The owner sends him to the house of Count B ***, but it so happens that the girl gave a bouquet to one of the lackeys, a lackey – a young seamstress, and a seamstress – a violinist. Both the master and the servant are upset. One is the loss of the manuscript, the other is the levity of the beloved.
Yorick walks the streets in the evening, believing that from a man afraid of dark alleys, “there will never be a good sensitive traveler.” On the way to the hotel, he sees two ladies standing in anticipation of a facar. A quiet voice in elegant expressions addressed them with a request to file twelve sous. Yorika was surprised that the beggar assigned the size of the alms, as well as the required amount: usually one or two sous served. Women refuse to say that they do not have any money with them, and when the older lady agrees to see if she has not lost one sue accidentally, the beggar insists on the previous sum, at the same time spreading compliments to the ladies at the same time. This ends with the fact that both take out twelve sous and the beggar withdraws. Yorik follows him: he recognized the man himself, whose riddle he tried unsuccessfully to solve. Now he knows the answer:
Disclosing the secret, Yorik skillfully uses it. Count B *** renders him one more service, having acquainted with several notable persons, who in turn presented it to their acquaintances. With each of them, Yorik managed to find a common language, as he said that he was busy with them, trying to screw in the appropriate compliment in time. “Three weeks I shared the opinion of everyone I met,” says Yorick, and eventually begins to be ashamed of his behavior, realizing that it is humiliating. He orders La Fleur to order horses to go to Italy. Passing through Bourbonnais, “the most charming part of France”, he admires the collection of grapes, This spectacle evokes in him ecstatic feelings. But at the same time he remembers the sad story told him by Mr. Shandy’s friend, who two years ago met in this region with a crazy girl Maria and her family. Yorik decides to visit Maria’s parents to ask about her. It turned out that Maria’s father had died a month ago, and the girl was very sad for him. Her mother, talking about it, causes tears even in the eyes of the cheerful La Fler. Not far from Mulena, Yorik meets a poor girl. Having sent the coachman and La Flerin to Moulin, he sits down beside her and tries, as best he can, to console the patient, alternately wiping her tears with her handkerchief, then to herself, then to herself. Yorik asks if she remembers his friend Shandy, and she remembers how her goat has taken away his handkerchief, which she now always carries with her to return at the meeting. The girl tells that she made a pilgrimage to Rome, passing alone and without the money of Apennines, Lombardy and Savoy. Yorick tells her that, if she lived in England, he would have sheltered her and cared for her. His wet handkerchief from Mary wipes in the creek and hides in her chest. They go together to the Moulin and say goodbye there. Continuing his journey through the province of Bourbonnae, the hero reflects on the “sweet sensitivity”, through which he “feels noble joys and noble alarms beyond his own personality.”
Due to the fact that when climbing the Tarar mountain, the sled harness lost two horseshoes, the carriage had to stop. Yorik sees a small farm. The family, consisting of an old farmer, his wife, children and many grandchildren, was sitting at dinner. Yorika was cordially invited to join the meal. He felt at home and for a long time remembered the taste of a wheat loaf and young wine. But even more he liked the “thanksgiving prayer” – every day after dinner, the old man called his family to dance and fun, believing that “a joyful and contented soul is the best kind of gratitude that an illiterate peasant can bring to the sky.”
Having passed Tarar mountain, the road descends to Lyons. This is a difficult stretch of road with steep turns, rocks and waterfalls, overthrowing huge stones from the top. The travelers watched for two hours as the peasants cleaned the stone block between Saint-Michel and Modana. Due to unforeseen delays and bad weather, Yorik had to stop at a small inn. Soon, another wheelchair arrived, in which the lady and her maid traveled. The bedroom, however, was only one, but the presence of three beds made it possible to accommodate everyone. Nevertheless, both feel uncomfortable, and only having supper and having drunk the Burgundy, they dare to talk about how best to get out of this situation. As a result of the two-hour debate, a treaty is drawn up, according to which Yorik undertakes to sleep dressed and not to utter a single word for the whole night. Unfortunately,


Sentimental journey through France and Italy