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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 37 / 106





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appointment, with a very good salary; and I understand he is in high favour at court. I have met few persons so punctual and methodical in business.

attacked, that we might require the pistols, that we might in short, you know how we go on fancying, when we have noth- ing better to do. I gave the pistols to the servant, to clean and


CERTAINLY ALBERT is the best fellow in the world. I had a strange scene with him yesterday. I went to take leave of him; for I took it into my head to spend a few days in these mountains, from where I now write to you. As I was walking up and down his room, my eye fell upon his pistols. “Lend me those pistols,” said I, “for my journey.” “By all means,” he replied, “if you will take the trouble to load them; for they only hang there for form.” I took down one of them; and he continued, “Ever since I was near suffering for my extreme caution, I will have nothing to do with such things.” I was curious to hear the story. “I was staying,” said he, “some three months ago, at a friend’s house in the country. I had a brace of pistols with me, unloaded; and I slept without any anxiety. One rainy afternoon I was sitting by myself, doing nothing, when it occurred to me I do not know how that the house might be

load. He was playing with the maid, and trying to frighten her, when the pistol went off —God knows how! —the ram- rod was in the barrel; and it went straight through her right hand, and shattered the thumb. I had to endure all the lamen- tation, and to pay the surgeon’s bill; so, since that time, I have kept all my weapons unloaded. But, my dear friend, what is the use of prudence? We can never be on our guard against all possible dangers. However,” —now, you must know I can tolerate all men till they come to “however;” —for it is self- evident that every universal rule must have its exceptions. But he is so exceedingly accurate, that, if he only fancies he has said a word too precipitate, or too general, or only half true, he never ceases to qualify, to modify, and extenuate, till at last he appears to have said nothing at all. Upon this occasion, Albert was deeply immersed in his subject: I ceased to listen to him, and became lost in reverie. With a sudden motion, I pointed the mouth of the pistol to my forehead, over the right eye. “What do you mean?” cried Albert, turning back


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