Laurence Sterne. (1713–1768). A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.


WHEN a man can contest the point by dint of equipage, and carry all on floundering before him with half a dozen lackeys and a couple of cooks—’t is very well in such a place as Paris—he may drive in at which end of a street he will.    1
  A poor prince who is weak in cavalry, and whose whole infantry does not exceed a single man, had best quit the field; and signalize himself in the cabinet, if he can get up into it—I say up into it—for there is no descending perpendicular amongst ’em with a “Me voici, mes enfans”—here I am—whatever many may think.    2
  I own my first sensations, as soon as I was left solitary and alone in my own chamber in the hotel, were far from being so flattering as I had prefigured them. I walked up gravely to the window in my dusty black coat, and looking through the glass saw all the world in yellow, blue, and green, running at the ring of pleasure.—The old with broken lances, and in helmets which had lost their vizards—the young in armor bright which shone like gold, beplumed with each gay feather of the east—all—all tilting at it like fascinated knights in tournaments of yore for fame and love.—    3
  Alas, poor Yorick! cried I, what art thou doing here? On the very first onset of all this glittering clatter thou art reduced to an atom.—Seek—seek some winding alley, with a tourniquet at the end of it, where chariot never rolled or flambeau shot its rays—there thou mayest solace thy soul in converse sweet with some kind grisset of a barber’s wife, and get into such coteries!—    4
  —May I perish! if I do, said I, pulling out the letter which I had to present to Madame de R——.—I’ll wait upon this lady, the very first thing I do. So I call’d La Fleur to go seek me a barber directly—and come back and brush my coat.    5