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TRANSLATIONS OF CELEBRATED FOREIGN

WORKS.

No. 1.

MONSIEUR FRONTIN.

From the French of

CH. PAUL DE KOCK.

CHAPTER I.

A VERY SENSITIVE MAN.

Pray imagine yourself in the Salon of a Restaurateur; neither Very's, nor Véfour's, nor the Café de Paris, nor the Rocher de Cancale, but a small Restaurateur Bourgeois, without pretension, without importance—where any one may dine comfortably enough, so he be not a Lucullus, or a Brillat Savarin. There is no profusion of glasses, lustres, or chandeliers in the room; but the tables are constantly occupied. The waiter does not bring you after dinner a blue finger glass filled with luke-warm water, and a slice of lemon, for the purpose of washing your hands and mouth; (which, by-the-by, I find a very dirty sort of cleanliness ;) but there is nothing to prevent you dipping your fingers in your own glass, and wiping them with your napkin. In conclusion, you see no owners of equipages—you inhale no perfumes of musk and amber, but, surrounded by artists and authors, your ears are regaled with laughter and loud speaking. With this preliminary, I may tell you, it is situated between the Porte Saint Denis and the Rue du Temple: choose then for yourself.

It was about five o'clock when M. La Girardière entered the Salon of the Restaurateur.

Picture to yourself a man on the wrong side of forty-nine, very averse to be considered more than thirty, and resolved to exert all his ingenuity to preserve the appearance of that age. He is not what would be called a fine man, but one of the middle size, who, in order to diguise the embonpoint, which begins to grow upon him, wears his clothes exceedingly tight. He is not handsome for his eyes, a sort of greenish grey in colour, are round and bordered with red, which give them a peculiar aspect; but M. La Girardière wears spectacles, and never lays them aside: his nose is too flat, his chin too pointed, his mouth too large; but with all these defects, M. La Girardière has settled into a physiognomical expression decidedly pleasing, which rarely deserts him, unless some extraordinary occurrence should have perplexed him. In fine, he is particularly neat in his appearance, and, above all, very proud that he wears neither a periwig, nor false curls. To say the truth, his hair, which time has dyed grey, is rather scanty on the top of his pericranium, but he zealously preserves what yet remains in the neighbourhood of his ears, throwing it on one side with sufficient address to shadow his forehead, which has begun to assume a loftiness much too expansive.

You will conjecture from this that M. La Girardière possesses the desire to please—that he may boast of a most sensitive heart

-that he is devoted to the fair sex, and that love has most probably been the principal occupation of his life.

Few persons indeed exist, who have not known this feeling who have not consecrated to it some sweet and never-to-be-forgotten moments. Those, even, who are the slaves of other passions, find a place in their hearts for love; for, as Voltaire has remarked, “We must love love alone sustains us; without love, it were a sad thing to be man.” But M. La Girardière had perhaps exceeded the precept of Voltaire. From his infancy he had given proofs of his inclination to tenderness. He adored birds, he doted on cats, he would weep for a week the absence of his dog. Arrived at adolescence, he became inflamed with a passion for a fat country girl, who performed the culinary duties at his father's house. Our little hero was ever stealing into the kitchen, where he learnt his rudiments; and that he might have some pretence for being constantly in the company of his fat Tourloure, (the cook's name, he took it into his head to teach her Latin.

While Tourloure was plucking the feathers from a pigeon, or seasoning the spinach, the little Girardière would gaze at her, near at hand, saying,

Amo! Tourloure, amo tibi lah! Tourloure, will you conjugate with me the verb amare?

“ What is it you mean by your amo?-is it the place where I used to dance on Sundays by the side of our house ?"

- I am not thinking of dancing-I am speaking Latin to you; I want you to say, I love you, in a dead language.”

" Let me finish what I am about.”

" That will not prevent you—0 Tourloure!- mulier !-mulieris !!"

“ What is the reason you call me mulier ?--that is not my name-my name is Tourloure Desmignart.”

“ Never mind, you are still a woman-Oh heavens! the women! -I should like to-muliebre bellum gerere"

“Oh dear! are you swearing?"
“ Tourloure, let me teach you Latin !"

#

“ Leave me alone, you will make me spoil the sauce !"

Say with me, then, amoamas-amat-and I will kiss you for your trouble.”

« Oh! indeed—what can a little boy of your age know about kissing the maids ?"

“ Do you not know, Tourloure, that Formosum pastor Coridon ardebat Alexin.?"

“ No, I know nothing of those folks; but I know if you do not leave me alone, the pigeons will be burnt and I shall get scolded.” “ Not if you say,

when
you serve them

up,

Jus hoc est cæna -Papa will open his eyes with astonishment. ”

Jus hoc- ah! my conscience, I shall have a great deal of trouble to remember these hard words.”

And all the time she was frying the vegetables, the fat cook kept incessantly muttering,sus hoc-Jus coq-ah! that is it.”

When dinner hour arrived, and all were at table, Tourloure, as she carried up the pigeons, opened her enormous mouth and began to cry out—" Jus-jus-” which was all she could call to mind, till Mamma Girardière interrupted her, saying,

"Well, Tourloure, we have had quite enough of this sort of juice" (jus).*

But the birds were over-roasted, the vegetables spoilt, the cream forgotten. The cook was severely reprimanded, but to excuse herself replied

"It is young master's fault; he is always poking about the kitchen, for ever on my heels. He insists on my learning Latin, and I spoil everything in trying to remember the words he tells me.”

As our hero's parents were by no means anxious for Tourloure to learn Latin, or desirous to have the dinner badly cooked, they gave the maid warning, and Master la Girardière was compelled to direct his villades elsewhere.

Such a beginning gave promise of a youth wholly devoted to the pleasures of love; but promises are not always fulfilled. It is not enough to be extremely sensitive, to sigh for every woman not absolutely a fright. Something more is required; it is necessary to have the gift of pleasing, of attracting; wit and talent are requisite to make conquests; which capabilities M. Theophilus Girardière did not possess, spite of all his efforts to attain them.

At the age of twenty our hero had never less than five or six passions tormenting him at a time. No sooner had he set his foot in the street, but he found occupation. If a female tolerably good looking, enveloped in a large shawl, happened to pass, and, by chance, lift her eyes up to him, he fancied she took notice of

*

This

pun of course is nothing except in the original language, where both words are spelt and pronounced alike.

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