⸺⁠But it is an indubitable verity, continued I, addressing myself to the commissary, changing only the form of my asseveration⁠⸺⁠that I owe the king of France nothing but my goodwill; for he is a very honest man, and I wish him all health and pastime in the world⁠⸺⁠

Pardonnez moi⁠—replied the commissary, you are indebted to him six livres four sous, for the next post from hence to St. Fons, in your route to Avignon⁠—which being a post royal, you pay double for the horses and postillion⁠—otherwise ’twould have amounted to no more than three livres two sous⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠But I don’t go by land; said I.

⸺⁠You may if you please; replied the commissary⁠⸺⁠

Your most obedient servant⁠⸺⁠said I, making him a low bow⁠⸺⁠

The commissary, with all the sincerity of grave good breeding⁠—made me one, as low again.⁠⸺⁠I never was more disconcerted with a bow in my life.

⸺⁠The devil take the serious character of these people! quoth I⁠—(aside) they understand no more of irony than this⁠⸺⁠

The comparison was standing close by with his panniers⁠—but something seal’d up my lips⁠—I could not pronounce the name⁠—

Sir, said I, collecting myself⁠—it is not my intention to take post⁠⸺⁠

—But you may⁠—said he, persisting in his first reply⁠—you may take post if you choose⁠⸺⁠

—And I may take salt to my pickled herring, said I, if I choose⁠⸺⁠

—But I do not choose⁠—

—But you must pay for it, whether you do or no.

Aye! for the salt; said I (I know)⁠⸺⁠

—And for the post too; added he. Defend me! cried I⁠⸺⁠

I travel by water⁠—I am going down the Rhône this very afternoon⁠—my baggage is in the boat⁠—and I have actually paid nine livres for my passage⁠⸺⁠

C’est tout egal⁠—’tis all one; said he.

Bon Dieu! what, pay for the way I go! and for the way I do not go!

⸺⁠C’est tout egal; replied the commissary⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠The devil it is! said I⁠—but I will go to ten thousand Bastiles first⁠⸺⁠

O England! England! thou land of liberty, and climate of good sense, thou tenderest of mothers⁠—and gentlest of nurses, cried I, kneeling upon one knee, as I was beginning my apostrophe.

When the director of Madam Le Blanc’s conscience coming in at that instant, and seeing a person in black, with a face as pale as ashes, at his devotions⁠—looking still paler by the contrast and distress of his drapery⁠—ask’d, if I stood in want of the aids of the church⁠⸺⁠

I go by water⁠—said I⁠—and here’s another will be for making me pay for going by oil.