The Paris Sketch Book, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Little Poinsinet

About the year 1760, there lived, at Paris, a little fellow, who was the darling of all the wags of his acquaintance. Nature seemed, in the formation of this little man, to have amused herself, by giving loose to half a hundred of her most comical caprices. He had some wit and drollery of his own, which sometimes rendered his sallies very amusing; but, where his friends laughed with him once, they laughed at him a thousand times, for he had a fund of absurdity in himself that was more pleasant than all the wit in the world. He was as proud as a peacock, as wicked as an ape, and as silly as a goose. He did not possess one single grain of common sense; but, in revenge, his pretensions were enormous, his ignorance vast, and his credulity more extensive still. From his youth upwards, he had read nothing but the new novels, and the verses in the almanacs, which helped him not a little in making, what he called, poetry of his own; for, of course, our little hero was a poet. All the common usages of life, all the ways of the world, and all the customs of society, seemed to be quite unknown to him; add to these good qualities, a magnificent conceit, a cowardice inconceivable, and a face so irresistibly comic, that every one who first beheld it was compelled to burst out a-laughing, and you will have some notion of this strange little gentleman. He was very proud of his voice, and uttered all his sentences in the richest tragic tone. He was little better than a dwarf; but he elevated his eyebrows, held up his neck, walked on the tips of his toes, and gave himself the airs of a giant. He had a little pair of bandy legs, which seemed much too short to support anything like a human body; but, by the help of these crooked supporters, he thought he could dance like a Grace; and, indeed, fancied all the graces possible were to be found in his person. His goggle eyes were always rolling about wildly, as if in correspondence with the disorder of his little brain and his countenance thus wore an expression of perpetual wonder. With such happy natural gifts, he not only fell into all traps that were laid for him, but seemed almost to go out of his way to seek them; although, to be sure, his friends did not give him much trouble in that search, for they prepared hoaxes for him incessantly.

One day the wags introduced him to a company of ladies, who, though not countesses and princesses exactly, took, nevertheless, those titles upon themselves for the nonce; and were all, for the same reason, violently smitten with Master Poinsinet’s person. One of them, the lady of the house, was especially tender; and, seating him by her side at supper, so plied him with smiles, ogles, and champagne, that our little hero grew crazed with ecstasy, and wild with love. In the midst of his happiness, a cruel knock was heard below, accompanied by quick loud talking, swearing, and shuffling of feet: you would have thought a regiment was at the door. “Oh heavens!” cried the marchioness, starting up, and giving to the hand of Poinsinet one parting squeeze; “fly — fly, my Poinsinet: ’tis the colonel — my husband!” At this, each gentleman of the party rose, and, drawing his rapier, vowed to cut his way through the colonel and all his mousquetaires, or die, if need be, by the side of Poinsinet.

The little fellow was obliged to lug out his sword too, and went shuddering down stairs, heartily repenting of his passion for marchionesses. When the party arrived in the street, they found, sure enough, a dreadful company of mousquetaires, as they seemed, ready to oppose their passage. Swords crossed — torches blazed; and, with the most dreadful shouts and imprecations, the contending parties rushed upon one another; the friends of Poinsinet surrounding and supporting that little warrior, as the French knights did King Francis at Pavia, otherwise the poor fellow certainly would have fallen down in the gutter from fright.

But the combat was suddenly interrupted; for the neighbors, who knew nothing of the trick going on, and thought the brawl was real, had been screaming with all their might for the police, who began about this time to arrive. Directly they appeared, friends and enemies of Poinsinet at once took to their heels; and, in THIS part of the transaction, at least, our hero himself showed that he was equal to the longest-legged grenadier that ever ran away.

When, at last, those little bandy legs of his had borne him safely to his lodgings, all Poinsinet’s friends crowded round him, to congratulate him on his escape and his valor.

“Egad, how he pinked that great red-haired fellow!” said one.

“No; did I?” said Poinsinet.

“Did you? Psha! don’t try to play the modest, and humbug US; you know you did. I suppose you will say, next, that you were not for three minutes point to point with Cartentierce himself, the most dreadful swordsman of the army.”

“Why, you see,” says Poinsinet, quite delighted, “it was so dark that I did not know with whom I was engaged; although, corbleu, I DID FOR one or two of the fellows.” And after a little more of such conversation, during which he was fully persuaded that he had done for a dozen of the enemy at least, Poinsinet went to bed, his little person trembling with fright and pleasure; and he fell asleep, and dreamed of rescuing ladies, and destroying monsters, like a second Amadis de Gaul.

When he awoke in the morning, he found a party of his friends in his room: one was examining his coat and waistcoat; another was casting many curious glances at his inexpressibles. “Look here!” said this gentleman, holding up the garment to the light; “one — two — three gashes! I am hanged if the cowards did not aim at Poinsinet’s legs! There are four holes in the sword arm of his coat, and seven have gone right through coat and waistcoat. Good heaven! Poinsinet, have you had a surgeon to your wounds?”

“Wounds!” said the little man, springing up, “I don’t know — that is, I hope — that is — O Lord! O Lord! I hope I’m not wounded!” and, after a proper examination, he discovered he was not.

“Thank heaven! thank heaven!” said one of the wags (who, indeed, during the slumbers of Poinsinet had been occupied in making these very holes through the garments of that individual), “if you have escaped, it is by a miracle. Alas! alas! all your enemies have not been so lucky.”

“How! is anybody wounded?” said Poinsinet.

“My dearest friend, prepare yourself; that unhappy man who came to revenge his menaced honor — that gallant officer — that injured husband, Colonel Count de Cartentierce —”

“Well?”

“IS NO MORE! he died this morning, pierced through with nineteen wounds from your hand, and calling upon his country to revenge his murder.”

When this awful sentence was pronounced, all the auditory gave a pathetic and simultaneous sob; and as for Poinsinet, he sank back on his bed with a howl of terror, which would have melted a Visigoth to tears, or to laughter. As soon as his terror and remorse had, in some degree, subsided, his comrades spoke to him of the necessity of making his escape; and, huddling on his clothes, and bidding them all a tender adieu, he set off, incontinently, without his breakfast, for England, America, or Russia, not knowing exactly which.

One of his companions agreed to accompany him on a part of this journey — that is, as far as the barrier of St. Denis, which is, as everybody knows, on the high road to Dover; and there, being tolerably secure, they entered a tavern for breakfast; which meal, the last that he ever was to take, perhaps, in his native city, Poinsinet was just about to discuss, when, behold! a gentleman entered the apartment where Poinsinet and his friend were seated, and, drawing from his pocket a paper, with “AU NOM DU ROY” flourished on the top, read from it, or rather from Poinsinet’s own figure, his exact signalement, laid his hand on his shoulder, and arrested him in the name of the King, and of the provost-marshal of Paris. “I arrest you, sir,” said he, gravely, “with regret; you have slain, with seventeen wounds, in single combat, Colonel Count de Cartentierce, one of his Majesty’s household; and, as his murderer, you fall under the immediate authority of the provost-marshal, and die without trial or benefit of clergy.”

You may fancy how the poor little man’s appetite fell when he heard this speech. “In the provost-marshal’s hands?” said his friend: “then it is all over, indeed! When does my poor friend suffer, sir?”

“At half-past six o’clock, the day after tomorrow,” said the officer, sitting down, and helping himself to wine. “But stop,” said he, suddenly; “sure I can’t mistake? Yes — no — yes, it is. My dear friend, my dear Durand! don’t you recollect your old schoolfellow, Antoine?” And herewith the officer flung himself into the arms of Durand, Poinsinet’s comrade, and they performed a most affecting scene of friendship.

“This may be of some service to you,” whispered Durand to Poinsinet; and, after some further parley, he asked the officer when he was bound to deliver up his prisoner; and, hearing that he was not called upon to appear at the Marshalsea before six o’clock at night, Monsieur Durand prevailed upon Monsieur Antoine to wait until that hour, and in the meantime to allow his prisoner to walk about the town in his company. This request was, with a little difficulty, granted; and poor Poinsinet begged to be carried to the houses of his various friends, and bid them farewell. Some were aware of the trick that had been played upon him: others were not; but the poor little man’s credulity was so great, that it was impossible to undeceive him; and he went from house to house bewailing his fate, and followed by the complaisant marshal’s officer.

The news of his death he received with much more meekness than could have been expected; but what he could not reconcile to himself was, the idea of dissection afterwards. “What can they want with me?” cried the poor wretch, in an unusual fit of candor. “I am very small and ugly; it would be different if I were a tall fine-looking fellow.” But he was given to understand that beauty made very little difference to the surgeons, who, on the contrary, would, on certain occasions, prefer a deformed man to a handsome one; for science was much advanced by the study of such monstrosities. With this reason Poinsinet was obliged to be content; and so paid his rounds of visits, and repeated his dismal adieux.

The officer of the provost-marshal, however amusing Poinsinet’s woes might have been, began, by this time, to grow very weary of them, and gave him more than one opportunity to escape. He would stop at shop-windows, loiter round corners, and look up in the sky, but all in vain: Poinsinet would not escape, do what the other would. At length, luckily, about dinner-time, the officer met one of Poinsinet’s friends and his own: and the three agreed to dine at a tavern, as they had breakfasted; and here the officer, who vowed that he had been up for five weeks incessantly, fell suddenly asleep, in the profoundest fatigue; and Poinsinet was persuaded, after much hesitation on his part, to take leave of him.

And now, this danger overcome, another was to be avoided. Beyond a doubt the police were after him, and how was he to avoid them? He must be disguised, of course; and one of his friends, a tall, gaunt lawyer’s clerk, agreed to provide him with habits.

So little Poinsinet dressed himself out in the clerk’s dingy black suit, of which the knee-breeches hung down to his heels, and the waist of the coat reached to the calves of his legs; and, furthermore, he blacked his eyebrows, and wore a huge black periwig, in which his friend vowed that no one could recognize him. But the most painful incident, with regard to the periwig, was, that Poinsinet, whose solitary beauty — if beauty it might be called — was a head of copious, curling, yellow hair, was compelled to snip off every one of his golden locks, and to rub the bristles with a black dye; “for if your wig were to come off,” said the lawyer, “and your fair hair to tumble over your shoulders, every man would know, or at least suspect you.” So off the locks were cut, and in his black suit and periwig little Poinsinet went abroad.

His friends had their cue; and when he appeared amongst them, not one seemed to know him. He was taken into companies where his character was discussed before him, and his wonderful escape spoken of. At last he was introduced to the very officer of the provost-marshal who had taken him into custody, and who told him that he had been dismissed the provost’s service, in consequence of the escape of the prisoner. Now, for the first time, poor Poinsinet thought himself tolerably safe, and blessed his kind friends who had procured for him such a complete disguise. How this affair ended I know not — whether some new lie was coined to account for his release, or whether he was simply told that he had been hoaxed: it mattered little; for the little man was quite as ready to be hoaxed the next day.

Poinsinet was one day invited to dine with one of the servants of the Tuileries; and, before his arrival, a person in company had been decorated with a knot of lace and a gold key, such as chamberlains wear; he was introduced to Poinsinet as the Count de Truchses, chamberlain to the King of Prussia. After dinner the conversation fell upon the Count’s visit to Paris; when his Excellency, with a mysterious air, vowed that he had only come for pleasure. “It is mighty well,” said a third person, “and, of course, we can’t cross-question your lordship too closely;” but at the same time it was hinted to Poinsinet that a person of such consequence did not travel for NOTHING, with which opinion Poinsinet solemnly agreed; and, indeed, it was borne out by a subsequent declaration of the Count, who condescended, at last, to tell the company, in confidence, that he HAD a mission, and a most important one — to find, namely, among the literary men of France, a governor for the Prince Royal of Prussia. The company seemed astonished that the King had not made choice of Voltaire or D’Alembert, and mentioned a dozen other distinguished men who might be competent to this important duty; but the Count, as may be imagined, found objections to every one of them; and, at last, one of the guests said, that, if his Prussian Majesty was not particular as to age, he knew a person more fitted for the place than any other who could be found — his honorable friend, M. Poinsinet, was the individual to whom he alluded.

“Good heavens!” cried the Count, “is it possible that the celebrated Poinsinet would take such a place? I would give the world to see him?” And you may fancy how Poinsinet simpered and blushed when the introduction immediately took place.

The Count protested to him that the King would be charmed to know him; and added, that one of his operas (for it must be told that our little friend was a vaudeville-maker by trade) had been acted seven-and-twenty times at the theatre at Potsdam. His Excellency then detailed to him all the honors and privileges which the governor of the Prince Royal might expect; and all the guests encouraged the little man’s vanity, by asking him for his protection and favor. In a short time our hero grew so inflated with pride and vanity, that he was for patronizing the chamberlain himself, who proceeded to inform him that he was furnished with all the necessary powers by his sovereign, who had specially enjoined him to confer upon the future governor of his son the royal order of the Black Eagle.

Poinsinet, delighted, was ordered to kneel down; and the Count produced a large yellow ribbon, which he hung over his shoulder, and which was, he declared, the grand cordon of the order. You must fancy Poinsinet’s face, and excessive delight at this; for as for describing them, nobody can. For four-and-twenty hours the happy chevalier paraded through Paris with this flaring yellow ribbon; and he was not undeceived until his friends had another trick in store for him.

He dined one day in the company of a man who understood a little of the noble art of conjuring, and performed some clever tricks on the cards. Poinsinet’s organ of wonder was enormous; he looked on with the gravity and awe of a child, and thought the man’s tricks sheer miracles. It wanted no more to set his companions to work.

“Who is this wonderful man?” said he to his neighbor.

“Why,” said the other, mysteriously, “one hardly knows who he is; or, at least, one does not like to say to such an indiscreet fellow as you are.” Poinsinet at once swore to be secret. “Well, then,” said his friend, “you will hear that man — that wonderful man — called by a name which is not his: his real name is Acosta: he is a Portuguese Jew, a Rosicrucian, and Cabalist of the first order, and compelled to leave Lisbon for fear of the Inquisition. He performs here, as you see, some extraordinary things, occasionally; but the master of the house, who loves him excessively, would not, for the world, that his name should be made public.”

“Ah, bah!” said Poinsinet, who affected the bel esprit; “you don’t mean to say that you believe in magic, and cabalas, and such trash?”

“Do I not? You shall judge for yourself.” And, accordingly, Poinsinet was presented to the magician, who pretended to take a vast liking for him, and declared that he saw in him certain marks which would infallibly lead him to great eminence in the magic art, if he chose to study it.

Dinner was served, and Poinsinet placed by the side of the miracle-worker, who became very confidential with him, and promised him — ay, before dinner was over — a remarkable instance of his power. Nobody, on this occasion, ventured to cut a single joke against poor Poinsinet; nor could he fancy that any trick was intended against him, for the demeanor of the society towards him was perfectly grave and respectful, and the conversation serious. On a sudden, however, somebody exclaimed, “Where is Poinsinet? Did any one see him leave the room?”

All the company exclaimed how singular the disappearance was; and Poinsinet himself, growing alarmed, turned round to his neighbor, and was about to explain.

“Hush!” said the magician, in a whisper; “I told you that you should see what I could do. I HAVE MADE YOU INVISIBLE; be quiet, and you shall see some more tricks that I shall play with these fellows.”

Poinsinet remained then silent, and listened to his neighbors, who agreed, at last, that he was a quiet, orderly personage, and had left the table early, being unwilling to drink too much. Presently they ceased to talk about him, and resumed their conversation upon other matters.

At first it was very quiet and grave, but the master of the house brought back the talk to the subject of Poinsinet, and uttered all sorts of abuse concerning him. He begged the gentleman, who had introduced such a little scamp into his house, to bring him thither no more: whereupon the other took up, warmly, Poinsinet’s defence; declared that he was a man of the greatest merit, frequenting the best society, and remarkable for his talents as well as his virtues.

“Ah!” said Poinsinet to the magician, quite charmed at what he heard, “how ever shall I thank you, my dear sir, for thus showing me who my true friends are?”

The magician promised him still further favors in prospect; and told him to look out now, for he was about to throw all the company into a temporary fit of madness, which, no doubt, would be very amusing.

In consequence, all the company, who had heard every syllable of the conversation, began to perform the most extraordinary antics, much to the delight of Poinsinet. One asked a nonsensical question, and the other delivered an answer not at all to the purpose. If a man asked for a drink, they poured him out a pepper-box or a napkin: they took a pinch of snuff, and swore it was excellent wine; and vowed that the bread was the most delicious mutton ever tasted. The little man was delighted.

“Ah!” said he, “these fellows are prettily punished for their rascally backbiting of me!”

“Gentlemen,” said the host, “I shall now give you some celebrated champagne,” and he poured out to each a glass of water.

“Good heavens!” said one, spitting it out, with the most horrible grimace, “where did you get this detestable claret?”

“Ah, faugh!” said a second, “I never tasted such vile corked burgundy in all my days!” and he threw the glass of water into Poinsinet’s face, as did half a dozen of the other guests, drenching the poor wretch to the skin. To complete this pleasant illusion, two of the guests fell to boxing across Poinsinet, who received a number of the blows, and received them with the patience of a fakir, feeling himself more flattered by the precious privilege of beholding this scene invisible, than hurt by the blows and buffets which the mad company bestowed upon him.

The fame of this adventure spread quickly over Paris, and all the world longed to have at their houses the representation of Poinsinet the Invisible. The servants and the whole company used to be put up to the trick; and Poinsinet, who believed in his invisibility as much as he did in his existence, went about with his friend and protector the magician. People, of course, never pretended to see him, and would very often not talk of him at all for some time, but hold sober conversation about anything else in the world. When dinner was served, of course there was no cover laid for Poinsinet, who carried about a little stool, on which he sat by the side of the magician, and always ate off his plate. Everybody was astonished at the magician’s appetite and at the quantity of wine he drank; as for little Poinsinet, he never once suspected any trick, and had such a confidence in his magician, that, I do believe, if the latter had told him to fling himself out of window, he would have done so, without the slightest trepidation.

Among other mystifications in which the Portuguese enchanter plunged him, was one which used to afford always a good deal of amusement. He informed Poinsinet, with great mystery, that HE WAS NOT HIMSELF; he was not, that is to say, that ugly, deformed little monster, called Poinsinet; but that his birth was most illustrious, and his real name Polycarte. He was, in fact, the son of a celebrated magician; but other magicians, enemies of his father, had changed him in his cradle, altering his features into their present hideous shape, in order that a silly old fellow, called Poinsinet, might take him to be his own son, which little monster the magician had likewise spirited away.

The poor wretch was sadly cast down at this; for he tried to fancy that his person was agreeable to the ladies, of whom he was one of the warmest little admirers possible; and to console him somewhat, the magician told him that his real shape was exquisitely beautiful, and as soon as he should appear in it, all the beauties in Paris would be at his feet. But how to regain it? “Oh, for one minute of that beauty!” cried the little man; “what would he not give to appear under that enchanting form!” The magician hereupon waved his stick over his head, pronounced some awful magical words, and twisted him round three times; at the third twist, the men in company seemed struck with astonishment and envy, the ladies clasped their hands, and some of them kissed his. Everybody declared his beauty to be supernatural.

Poinsinet, enchanted, rushed to a glass. “Fool!” said the magician; “do you suppose that YOU can see the change? My power to render you invisible, beautiful, or ten times more hideous even than you are, extends only to others, not to you. You may look a thousand times in the glass, and you will only see those deformed limbs and disgusting features with which devilish malice has disguised you.” Poor little Poinsinet looked, and came back in tears. “But,” resumed the magician — “ha, ha, ha! — I know a way in which to disappoint the machinations of these fiendish magi.”

“Oh, my benefactor! — my great master! — for heaven’s sake tell it!” gasped Poinsinet.

“Look you — it is this. A prey to enchantment and demoniac art all your life long, you have lived until your present age perfectly satisfied; nay, absolutely vain of a person the most singularly hideous that ever walked the earth!”

“IS it?” whispered Poinsinet. “Indeed and indeed I didn’t think it so bad!”

“He acknowledges it! he acknowledges it!” roared the magician. “Wretch, dotard, owl, mole, miserable buzzard! I have no reason to tell thee now that thy form is monstrous, that children cry, that cowards turn pale, that teeming matrons shudder to behold it. It is not thy fault that thou art thus ungainly: but wherefore so blind? wherefore so conceited of thyself! I tell thee, Poinsinet, that over every fresh instance of thy vanity the hostile enchanters rejoice and triumph. As long as thou art blindly satisfied with thyself; as long as thou pretendest, in thy present odious shape, to win the love of aught above a negress; nay, further still, until thou hast learned to regard that face, as others do, with the most intolerable horror and disgust, to abuse it when thou seest it, to despise it, in short, and treat that miserable disguise in which the enchanters have wrapped thee with the strongest, hatred and scorn, so long art thou destined to wear it.”

Such speeches as these, continually repeated, caused Poinsinet to be fully convinced of his ugliness; he used to go about in companies, and take every opportunity of inveighing against himself; he made verses and epigrams against himself; he talked about “that dwarf, Poinsinet;” “that buffoon, Poinsinet;” “that conceited, hump-backed Poinsinet;” and he would spend hours before the glass, abusing his own face as he saw it reflected there, and vowing that he grew handsomer at every fresh epithet that he uttered.

Of course the wags, from time to time, used to give him every possible encouragement, and declared that since this exercise, his person was amazingly improved. The ladies, too, began to be so excessively fond of him, that the little fellow was obliged to caution them at last — for the good, as he said, of society; he recommended them to draw lots, for he could not gratify them all; but promised when his metamorphosis was complete, that the one chosen should become the happy Mrs. Poinsinet; or, to speak more correctly, Mrs. Polycarte.

I am sorry to say, however, that, on the score of gallantry, Poinsinet was never quite convinced of the hideousness of his appearance. He had a number of adventures, accordingly, with the ladies, but strange to say, the husbands or fathers were always interrupting him. On one occasion he was made to pass the night in a slipper-bath full of water; where, although he had all his clothes on, he declared that he nearly caught his death of cold. Another night, in revenge, the poor fellow

—“dans le simple appareil
D’une beauté, qu’on vient d’arracher au sommeil,”

spent a number of hours contemplating the beauty of the moon on the tiles. These adventures are pretty numerous in the memoirs of M. Poinsinet; but the fact is, that people in France were a great deal more philosophical in those days than the English are now, so that Poinsinet’s loves must be passed over, as not being to our taste. His magician was a great diver, and told Poinsinet the most wonderful tales of his two minutes’ absence under water. These two minutes, he said, lasted through a year, at least, which he spent in the company of a naiad, more beautiful than Venus, in a palace more splendid than even Versailles. Fired by the description, Poinsinet used to dip, and dip, but he never was known to make any mermaid acquaintances, although he fully believed that one day he should find such.

The invisible joke was brought to an end by Poinsinet’s too great reliance on it; for being, as we have said, of a very tender and sanguine disposition, he one day fell in love with a lady in whose company he dined, and whom he actually proposed to embrace; but the fair lady, in the hurry of the moment, forgot to act up to the joke; and instead of receiving Poinsinet’s salute with calmness, grew indignant, called him an impudent little scoundrel, and lent him a sound box on the ear. With this slap the invisibility of Poinsinet disappeared, the gnomes and genii left him, and he settled down into common life again, and was hoaxed only by vulgar means.

A vast number of pages might be filled with narratives of the tricks that were played upon him; but they resemble each other a good deal, as may be imagined, and the chief point remarkable about them is the wondrous faith of Poinsinet. After being introduced to the Prussian ambassador at the Tuileries, he was presented to the Turkish envoy at the Place Vendôme, who received him in state, surrounded by the officers of his establishment, all dressed in the smartest dresses that the wardrobe of the Opéra Comique could furnish.

As the greatest honor that could be done to him, Poinsinet was invited to eat, and a tray was produced, on which was a delicate dish prepared in the Turkish manner. This consisted of a reasonable quantity of mustard, salt, cinnamon and ginger, nutmegs and cloves, with a couple of tablespoonfuls of cayenne pepper, to give the whole a flavor; and Poinsinet’s countenance may be imagined when he introduced into his mouth a quantity of this exquisite compound.

“The best of the joke was,” says the author who records so many of the pitiless tricks practised upon poor Poinsinet, “that the little man used to laugh at them afterwards himself with perfect good humor; and lived in the daily hope that, from being the sufferer, he should become the agent in these hoaxes, and do to others as he had been done by.” Passing, therefore, one day, on the Pont Neuf, with a friend, who had been one of the greatest performers, the latter said to him, “Poinsinet, my good fellow, thou hast suffered enough, and thy sufferings have made thee so wise and cunning, that thou art worthy of entering among the initiated, and hoaxing in thy turn.” Poinsinet was charmed; he asked when he should be initiated, and how? It was told him that a moment would suffice, and that the ceremony might be performed on the spot. At this news, and according to order, Poinsinet flung himself straightway on his knees in the kennel; and the other, drawing his sword, solemnly initiated him into the sacred order of jokers. From that day the little man believed himself received into the society; and to this having brought him, let us bid him a respectful adieu.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/t/thackeray/william_makepeace/paris/chapter13.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 19:07