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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesLavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 93
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Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 93 Post by :redbrad0 Category :Long Stories Author :George Borrow Date :May 2012 Read :903

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Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 93

CHAPTER XCIII. Another Visit--_A la Margutte_--Clever Man--Napoleon's Estimate--Another Statue.

One evening Belle and myself received another visit from the man in black. After a little conversation of not much importance, I asked him whether he would not take some refreshment, assuring him that I was now in possession of some very excellent Hollands which, with a glass, a jug of water, and a lump of sugar, were heartily at his service; he accepted my offer, and Belle going with a jug to the spring, from which she was in the habit of procuring water for tea, speedily returned with it full of the clear, delicious water of which I have already spoken. Having placed the jug by the side of the man in black, she brought him a glass and spoon, and a tea-cup, the latter containing various lumps of snowy-white sugar: in the meantime I had produced a bottle of the stronger liquid. The man in black helped himself to some water, and likewise to some Hollands, the proportion of water being about two-thirds; then adding a lump of sugar, he stirred the whole up, tasted it, and said that it was good.

"This is one of the good things of life," he added, after a short pause.

"What are the others?" I demanded.

"There is Malvoisia sack," said the man in black, "and partridge, and beccafico."

"And what do you say to high mass?" said I.

"High mass!" said the man in black; "however," he continued, after a pause, "I will be frank with you; I came to be so; I may have heard high mass on a time, and said it too; but as for any predilection for it, I assure you I have no more than for a long High Church sermon."

"You speak _a la Margutte_," said I.

"Margutte!" said the man in black, musingly, "Margutte!"

"You have read Pulci, I suppose?" said I.

"Yes, yes," said the man in black, laughing; "I remember."

"He might be rendered into English," said I, "something in this style:--

'To which Margutte answered with a sneer,
I like the blue no better than the black,
My faith consists alone in savoury cheer,
In roasted capons, and in potent sack;
But above all, in famous gin and clear,
Which often lays the Briton on his back,
With lump of sugar, and with lympth from well,
I drink it, and defy the fiends of hell.'"

"He! he! he!" said the man in black; "that is more than Mezzofante could have done for a stanza of Byron."

"A clever man," said I.

"Who?" said the man in black.

"Mezzofante di Bologna."

"He! he! he!" said the man in black; "now I know that you are not a Gypsy, at least a soothsayer; no soothsayer would have said that--"

"Why," said I, "does he not understand five-and-twenty tongues?"

"O yes," said the man in black; "and five-and-twenty added to them; but--he! he! he! it was principally from him who is certainly the greatest of Philologists that I formed my opinion of the sect."

"You ought to speak of him with more respect," said I; "I have heard say that he has done good service to your See."

"O, yes," said the man in black; "he has done good service to our See, that is, in his way; when the neophytes of the propaganda are to be examined in the several tongues in which they are destined to preach, he is appointed to question them, the questions being first written down for him, or else, he! he! he! Of course you know Napoleon's estimate of Mezzofante; he sent for the linguist from motives of curiosity, and after some discourse with him, told him that he might depart; then turning to some of his generals, he observed, '_Nous avons eu ici un exemple qu'un homme peut avoir beaucoup de paroles avec bien peu d'esprit_.'"

"You are ungrateful to him," said I; "well, perhaps, when he is dead and gone you will do him justice."

"True," said the man in black; "when he is dead and gone we intend to erect him a statue of wood, on the left-hand side of the door of the Vatican library."

"Of wood?" said I.

"He was the son of a carpenter, you know," said the man in black; "the figure will be of wood, for no other reason, I assure you; he! he!"

"You should place another statue on the right."

"Perhaps we shall," said the man in black; "but we know of no one amongst the philologists of Italy, nor, indeed, of the other countries, inhabited by the faithful, worthy to sit parallel in effigy with our illustrissimo; when, indeed, we have conquered those regions of the perfidious by bringing the inhabitants thereof to the true faith, I have no doubt that we shall be able to select one worthy to bear him company, one whose statue shall be placed on the right hand of the library, in testimony of our joy at his conversion; for, as you know, 'There is more joy,' etc."

"Wood?" said I.

"I hope not," said the man in black; "no, if I be consulted as to the material for the statue, I should strongly recommend bronze."

And when the man in black had said this, he emptied his second tumbler of its contents, and prepared himself another.

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Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 94 Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 94

Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 94
CHAPTER XCIV. Prerogative--Feeling of Gratitude--A Long History--Alliterative Style--Advantageous Specimen--Jesuit Benefice--Not Sufficient--Queen Stork's Tragedy--Good Sense--Grandeur and Gentility--Ironmonger's Daughter--Clan Mac-Sycophant--Lick-Spittles--A Curiosity--Newspaper Editors--Charles the Simple--High-flying Ditty--Dissenters--Lower Classes--Priestley's House--Saxon Ancestors--Austin--Renovating Glass--Money--Quite Original. "So you hope to bring these regions again beneath the banner of the Roman See?" said I; after the man in black had prepared the beverage, and tasted it. "Hope," said the man in black; "how can we fail? Is not the Church of these regions going to lose its prerogative?" "Its prerogative?" "Yes; those who should be the guardians of the religion of England are about to grant Papists emancipation and

Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 92 Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 92

Lavengro: The Scholar - The Gypsy - The Priest - Chapter 92
CHAPTER XCII. The Landlord--Rather Too Old--Without a Shilling--Reputation--A Fortnight Ago--Liquids--The Main Chance--Respectability--Irrational Beings--Parliament Cove--My Brewer. Amongst other excursions, I went several times to the public-house to which I introduced the reader in a former chapter. I had experienced such beneficial effects from the ale I had drunk on that occasion, that I wished to put its virtue to a frequent test; nor did the ale on subsequent trials belie the good opinion which I had at first formed of it. After each visit which I made to the public-house, I found my frame stronger, and my mind more cheerful