Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 1768
Genre Fiction
Origin UK
Publisher Oxford World's Classics
My Copy cheap paperback
First Read September 12, 2022

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

As much as I love Tristram Shandy, it's weird that I've never picked up other work by Sterne. This was funny, but also: I'd forgotten how HARD it is to parse some of this. Like in Shandy, Sterne is playing with structure and wordplay here, and it takes some pretty close reading for me.

Noted on September 13, 2022

Madame do Rambouliet, after an acquaintance of about six weeks with her, had done me the honour to take me in her coach about two leagues out of town.—Of all women, Madame de Rambouliet is the most correct; and I never wish to see one of more virtues and purity of heart.—In our return back, Madame de Rambouliet desired me to pull the cord.—I asked her if she wanted anything—Rien que pour pisser, said Madame de Rambouliet.

Grieve not, gentle traveller, to let Madame de Rambouliet p—ss on.—And, ye fair mystic nymphs! go each one pluck your rose, and scatter them in your path,—for Madame de Rambouliet did no more.—I handed Madame de Rambouliet out of the coach; and had I been the priest of the chaste Castalia, I could not have served at her fountain with a more respectful decorum.

Quoted on September 13, 2022

[it's that human thing where you want to let someone pass in a hallway and you don't know which side to go to!]

I was going one evening to Martini’s concert at Milan, and, was just entering the door of the hall, when the Marquisina di F— was coming out in a sort of a hurry:—she was almost upon me before I saw her; so I gave a spring to once side to let her pass.—She had done the same, and on the same side too; so we ran our heads together: she instantly got to the other side to get out: I was just as unfortunate as she had been, for I had sprung to that side, and opposed her passage again.—We both flew together to the other side, and then back,—and so on:—it was ridiculous: we both blush’d intolerably: so I did at last the thing I should have done at first;—I stood stock-still, and the Marquisina had no more difficulty. I had no power to go into the room, till I had made her so much reparation as to wait and follow her with my eye to the end of the passage. She look’d back twice, and walk’d along it rather sideways, as if she would make room for any one coming up stairs to pass her.—No, said I—that’s a vile translation: the Marquisina has a right to the best apology I can make her, and that opening is left for me to do it in;—so I ran and begg’d pardon for the embarrassment I had given her, saying it was my intention to have made her way. She answered, she was guided by the same intention towards me;—so we reciprocally thank’d each other.

Quoted on September 13, 2022

...by a continual higgling with customers of all ranks and sizes from morning to night, like so many rough pebbles shook long together in a bag, by amicable collisions they have worn down their asperities and sharp angles, and not only become round and smooth, but will receive, some of them, a polish like a brilliant.

Quoted on September 13, 2022

—What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in every thing, and who, having eyes to see what time and chance are perpetually holding out to him as he journeyeth on his way, misses nothing he can fairly lay his hands on!

—If this won’t turn out something,—another will;—no matter,—’tis an assay upon human nature—I get my labour for my pains,—’tis enough;—the pleasure of the experiment has kept my senses and the best part of my blood awake, and laid the gross to sleep.

I pity the man who can travel from Dan to Beersheba, and cry, ’Tis all barren;—and so it is: and so is all the world to him who will not cultivate the fruits it offers. I declare, said I, clapping my hands cheerily together, that were I in a desert, I would find out wherewith in it to call forth my affections:—if I could not do better, I would fasten them upon some sweet myrtle, or seek some melancholy cypress to connect myself to;—I would court their shade, and greet them kindly for their protection.—I would cut my name upon them, and swear they were the loveliest trees throughout the desert: if their leaves wither’d, I would teach myself to mourn; and, when they rejoiced, I would rejoice along with them.

Quoted on September 13, 2022

YES and then--Ye whose clay-cold heads and luke-warm hearts can argue down or mask your passions - tell me, what trespass is it that man should have them? or how his spirit stands answerable, to the father of spirits, but for his conduct under them? If nature has so wove her web of kindness, that some threads of love and desire are entangled with the piece - must the whole web be rent in drawing them out? Whip me such stoics, great governor of nature!

Quoted on September 13, 2022

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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