A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

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Author: Laurence Sterne

The Fragment. Paris.

La Fleur had left me something to amuse myself with for the day more than I had bargain’d for, or could have enter’d either into his head or mine.

He had brought the little print of butter upon a currant leaf: and as the morning was warm, and he had a good step to bring it, he had begg’d a sheet of waste paper to put betwixt the currant leaf and his hand. - As that was plate sufficient, I bade him lay it upon the table as it was; and as I resolved to stay within all day, I ordered him to call upon the traiteur, to bespeak my dinner, and leave me to breakfast by myself.

When I had finished the butter, I threw the currant-leaf out of the window, and was going to do the same by the waste paper; - but stopping to read a line first, and that drawing me on to a second and third, - I thought it better worth; so I shut the window, and drawing a chair up to it, I sat down to read it.

It was in the old French of Rabelais’s time, and for aught I know might have been wrote by him: - it was moreover in a Gothic letter, and that so faded and gone off by damps and length of time, it cost me infinite trouble to make anything of it. - I threw it down; and then wrote a letter to Eugenius; - then I took it up again, and embroiled my patience with it afresh; - and then to cure that, I wrote a letter to Eliza. - Still it kept hold of me; and the difficulty of understanding it increased but the desire.

I got my dinner; and after I had enlightened my mind with a bottle of Burgundy; I at it again, - and, after two or three hours poring upon it, with almost as deep attention as ever Gruter or Jacob Spon did upon a nonsensical inscription, I thought I made sense of it; but to make sure of it, the best way, I imagined, was to turn it into English, and see how it would look then; - so I went on leisurely, as a trifling man does, sometimes writing a sentence, - then taking a turn or two, - and then looking how the world went, out of the window; so that it was nine o’clock at night before I had done it. - I then began and read it as follows.

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Chicago: Laurence Sterne, "The Fragment. Paris.," A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, trans. Martin, Theodore in A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (London: Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1920), Original Sources, accessed February 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=944U3NGMQUH1I6Q.

MLA: Sterne, Laurence. "The Fragment. Paris." A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, translted by Martin, Theodore, in A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, London, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, 1920, Original Sources. 4 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=944U3NGMQUH1I6Q.

Harvard: Sterne, L, 'The Fragment. Paris.' in A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, trans. . cited in 1920, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, Effingham Wilson, Royal Exchange, London. Original Sources, retrieved 4 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=944U3NGMQUH1I6Q.