I Was Then But A Novice;
Even After The Misadventure Of The Pad Nothing Could Disturb My Security,
And I Went Forth From The Stable Door As An Ox Goeth To The Slaughter.
THE GREEN DONKEY-DRIVER
The bell of Monastier was just striking nine as I got quit of these
preliminary troubles and descended the hill through the common. As long
as I was within sight of the windows, a secret shame and the fear of some
laughable defeat withheld me from tampering with Modestine. She tripped
along upon her four small hoofs with a sober daintiness of gait; from
time to time she shook her ears or her tail; and she looked so small
under the bundle that my mind misgave me. We got across the ford without
difficulty - there was no doubt about the matter, she was docility
itself - and once on the other bank, where the road begins to mount
through pine-woods, I took in my right hand the unhallowed staff, and
with a quaking spirit applied it to the donkey. Modestine brisked up her
pace for perhaps three steps, and then relapsed into her former minuet.
Another application had the same effect, and so with the third. I am
worthy the name of an Englishman, and it goes against my conscience to
lay my hand rudely on a female. I desisted, and looked her all over from
head to foot; the poor brute's knees were trembling and her breathing was
distressed; it was plain that she could go no faster on a hill.
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