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

The Riddle Explained. Paris

I STEPP’D hastily after him: it was the very man whose success in asking charity of the women before the door of the hotel had so puzzled me—and I found at once his secret, or at least the basis of it—’t was flattery.

Delicious essence! how refreshing art thou to nature! how strongly are all its powers and all its weaknesses on thy side! how sweetly dost thou mix with the blood, and help it through the most difficult and tortuous passages to the heart!

The poor man, as he was not straiten’d for time, had given it here in a larger dose: ’t is certain he had a way of bringing it into less form, for the many sudden cases he had to do with in the streets; but how he contrived to correct, sweeten, concenter, and qualify it—I vex not my spirit with the inquiry—it is enough, the beggar gain’d two twelve-sou pieces—and they can best tell the rest, who have gain’d much greater matters by it.