By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VII (of X)—Continental Europe I
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VII (of X)—Continental Europe I" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


_of the_



Associate Editor

With an Introduction, Biographical and Explanatory Notes, etc.

In Ten Volumes

Vol. VII



Funk & Wagnalls Company
New York and London
Copyright, 1909, by
Funk & Wagnalls Company

The Best of the World's Classics







ST. AURELIUS AUGUSTINE--(Born in Numidia, Africa, in 354; died in 430.)

     Imperial Power for Good and Bad Men.

     (From Book IV, Chapter III, of "De Civitate Dei")

ANICIUS BOETHIUS--(Born about 475, died about 524.)

     The Highest Happiness.

     (From "The Consolations of Philosophy." Translated by Alfred the

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS--(Born near Aquino, Italy, probably in 1225; died in

     A Definition of Happiness.

     (From the "Ethics")

THOMAS À KEMPIS--(Born in Rhenish Prussia about 1380, died in the
Netherlands in 1471.)

     Of Eternal Life and of Striving for It.

     (From "The Imitation of Christ")


Twelfth Century--1885

GEOFFREY DE VILLE-HARDOUIN--(Born between 1150 and 1165; died in 1212.)

     The Sack of Constantinople.

     (From "The Chronicles." Translated by Eric Arthur Bell)

JEAN DE JOINVILLE--(Born in 1224, died in 1317.)

     Greek Fire in Battle.

     (From "The Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France." Translated by Thomas


     (A French romance of the 12th Century, the author's name unknown)

JEAN FROISSART--(Born in 1337, died in 1410.)

     The Battle of Crécy (1346).

     (From the "Chronicles." Translated by Thomas Johnes)

PHILIPPE DE COMINES--(Born in France about 1445, died in 1511.)

     Of the Character of Louis XI

     (From the "Memoirs." Translated by Andrew R. Scoble)

MARGUERITE D'ANGOULÊME--(Born in 1492, died in 1549.)

     Of Husbands Who Are Unfaithful.

     (From the "Heptameron")

FRANÇOIS RABELAIS--(Born in 1495, died in 1553.)

I    Gargantua in His Childhood.

     (From "The Inestimable Life of the Great Gargantua." Translated by
       Urquhart and Motteux)

II   Gargantua's Education.

     (From "The Inestimable Life of the Great Gargantua." Translated by
       Urquhart and Motteux)

III  Of the Founding of an Ideal Abbey.

     (From "The Inestimable Life of the Great Gargantua." Translated by
       Urquhart and Motteux)

JOHN CALVIN--(Born in 1509, died in 1564.)

     Of Freedom for the Will.

     (From the "Institutes")

JOACHIM DU BELLAY--(Born about 1524, died in 1560.)

     Why Old French Was Not as Rich as Greek and Latin.

     (From the "Défense et Illustration de la Langue Françoise."
       Translated by Eric Arthur Bell)

MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE--(Born in 1533, died in 1592.)

I    A Word to His Readers.

     (From the preface to the "Essays." Translated by John Florio)

II   Of Society and Solitude.

     (From the essay entitled "Of Three Commerces." The Cotton translation,
       revised by W. C. Hazlitt)

III  Of His Own Library.

     (From the essay entitled "Of Three Commerces." The Cotton translation,
       revised by W. C. Hazlitt)

IV   That the Soul Discharges Her Passions upon False Objects Where
       True Ones Are Wanting.

     (From the essay with that title. The Cotton translation)

V    That Men Are Not to Judge of Our Happiness Till After Death.

     (From the essay with that title. The Cotton translation)

RENÉ DESCARTES--(Born in 1596, died in 1650.)

     Of Material Things and of the Existence of God.

     (From the "Meditations." Translated by John Veitch)

DUC DE LA ROCHEFOUCAULD--(Born in France in 1613, died in 1680.)

     Selections from the "Maxims."

     (Translated by Willis Bund and Hain Friswell)

BLAISE PASCAL--(Born in 1623, died in 1662.)

     Of the Prevalence of Self-Love.

     (From the "Thoughts." Translated by C. Kegan Paul)

MADAME DE SÉVIGNÉ--(Born in Paris in 1626, died in 1696.)

I    Great News from Paris.

     (From a letter dated Paris, December 15, 1670)

II   An Imposing Funeral Described.

     (From a letter to her daughter, dated Paris, May 6,1672)

ALAIN RENÉ LE SAGE--(Born in 1668, died in 1747.)

I    In the Service of Dr. Sangrado.

     (From "Gil Blas." Translated by Tobias Smollett)

II   As an Archbishop's Favorite.

     (From "Gil Blas." Translated by Tobias Smollett)

DUC DE SAINT-SIMON--(Born in 1675, died in 1755.)

I    The Death of the Dauphin.

     (From the "Memoirs." Translated by Bayle St. John)

II   The Public Watching the King and Madame.

     (From the "Memoirs." Translated by Bayle St. John)

BARON DE MONTESQUIEU--(Born in 1689, died in 1755.)

I    Of the Causes Which Destroyed Rome.

     (From the "Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans")

II   Of the Relation of Laws to Human Beings.

     (From the "Spirit of Laws." Translated by Thomas Nugent)

FRANÇOIS AROUET VOLTAIRE--(Born in Paris in 1694, died in 1778.)

I    Of Bacon's Greatness.

     (From the "Letters on England")

II   England's Regard for Men of Letters.

     (From the "Letters on England")

JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU--(Born in 1712, died in 1778.)

I    Of Christ and Socrates

II   Of the Management of Children.

     (From the "New Héloïse")

MADAME DE STAËL--(Born in 1763, died in 1817.)

     Of Napoleon Bonaparte.

     (From "Considerations on the French Revolution")

VISCOUNT DE CHATEAUBRIAND--(Born in 1768, died in 1848.)

     In an American Forest.

     (From the "Historical Essay on Revolutions")

FRANÇOIS GUIZOT--(Born in 1787, died in 1874.)

     Shakespeare as an Example of Civilization.

     (From "Shakespeare and His Times")

ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE--(Born in 1790, died in 1869.)

     Of Mirabeau's Origin and Place in History.

     (From Book I of the "History of the Girondists."
       Translated by T. Ryde)

LOUIS ADOLPH THIERS--(Born in 1797, died in 1877.)

     The Burning of Moscow.

     (From the "History of the Consulate and the Empire")

HONORÉ DE BALZAC--(Born in 1799, died in 1850.)

I    The Death of Père Goriot.

     (From the concluding chapter of "Père Goriot." Translated by Helen

II   Birotteau's Early Married Life.

     (From "The Rise and Fall of César Birotteau." Translated by
       Helen Marriàge)

ALFRED DE VIGNY--(Born in 1799, died in 1863.)

     Richelieu's Way with His Master.

     (From "Cinq-Mars; or, The Conspiracy under Louis XIII." Translated by
       William C. Hazlitt)

VICTOR HUGO--(Born in France in 1802, died in 1885.)

I    The Battle of Waterloo.

     (From Chapter XV of "Cosette," in "Les Misérables." Translated
       by Lascelles Wraxall)

II   The Beginnings and Expansions of Paris.

     (From Book III, Chapter II, of "Notre-Dame de Paris")

ALEXANDER DUMAS--(Born in 1802, died in 1870.)

     The Shoulder, the Belt and the Handkerchief.

     (From "The Three Musketeers")

GEORGE SAND--(Born in 1804, died in 1876.)

     Lélia and the Poet.

     (From "Lélia")


354 A.D.--1471 A.D.


     Born in Numidia, Africa, in 354 A.D., died in 430; educated
     at Carthage; taught rhetoric at Carthage; removed to Rome in
     383; going thence to Milan in 384, where he became a friend
     of St. Ambrose; converted from Manicheanism to Christianity
     by his mother Monica, and baptized by St. Ambrose in 387;
     made Bishop of Hippo in North Africa in 395; became a
     champion of orthodoxy and the most celebrated of the fathers
     of the Latin branch of the Church; his "Confessions"
     published in 397.


Let us examine the nature of the spaciousness and continuance of
empire, for which men give their gods such great thanks; to whom also
they exhibited plays (that were so filthy both in actors and the
action) without any offense of honesty. But, first, I would make a
little inquiry, seeing you can not show such estates to be anyway
happy, as are in continual wars, being still in terror, trouble, and
guilt of shedding human blood, tho it be their foes; what reason then
or what wisdom shall any man show in glorying in the largeness of
empire, all their joy being but as a glass, bright and brittle, and
evermore in fear and danger of breaking? To dive the deeper into this
matter, let us not give the sails of our souls to every air of human
breath, nor suffer our understanding's eye to be smoked up with the
fumes of vain words, concerning kingdoms, provinces, nations, or so.
No, let us take two men, let us imagine the one to be poor, or but of
a mean estate, the other potent and wealthy; but withal, let my
wealthy man take with him fears, sorrows, covetousness, suspicion,
disquiet, contentions,--let these be the books for him to hold in the
augmentation of his estate, and with all the increase of those cares,
together with his estate; and let my poor man take with him,
sufficiency with little, love of kindred, neighbors, friends, joyous
peace, peaceful religion, soundness of body, sincereness of heart,
abstinence of diet, chastity of carriage, and security of conscience.

[Footnote 1: From "De Civitate Dei," Book IV, Chapter III, published
in 426. This work, "as Englisshed" by J. Healey, was published is

Where should a man find any one so sottish as would make a doubt which
of these to prefer in his choice? Well, then, even as we have done
with these two men, so let us do with two families, two nations, or
two kingdoms. Lay them both to the line of equity; which done, and
duly considered, when it is done, here doth vanity lie bare to the
view, and there shines felicity. Wherefore it is more convenient that
such as fear and follow the law of the true God should have the
swaying of such empires; not so much for themselves, their piety and
their honesty (God's admired gifts) will suffice them, both to the
enjoying of true felicity in this life and the attaining of that
eternal and true felicity in the next. So that here upon earth, the
rule and regality that is given to the good man does not return him so
much good as it does to those that are under this his rule and
regality. But, contrariwise, the government of the wicked harms
themselves far more than their subjects, for it gives themselves the
greater liberty to exercise their lusts; but for their subjects, they
have none but their own iniquities to answer for; for what injury
soever the unrighteous master does to the righteous servant, it is no
scourge for his guilt, but a trial of his virtue. And therefore he
that is good is free, tho he be a slave; and he that is evil, a slave
tho he be king. Nor is he slave to one man, but that which is worst of
all, unto as many masters as he affects vices; according to the
Scriptures, speaking thus hereof: "Of whatsoever a man is overcome, to
that he is in bondage."


     Born in Rome about 475, died about 524; consul in 510 and
     magister officiorum in the court of Theodoric the Goth; put
     to death by Theodoric without trial on the charge of treason
     and magic; his famous work "De Consolatione Philosophiæ"
     probably written while in prison in Pavia; parts of that
     work translated by Alfred the Great and Chaucer; secured
     much influence for the works of Aristotle by his
     translations and commentaries.


When Wisdom had sung this lay he ceased the song and was silent a
while. Then he began to think deeply in his mind's thought, and spoke
thus: Every mortal man troubles himself with various and manifold
anxieties, and yet all desire, through various paths, to come to one
end; that is, they desire, by different means, to arrive at one
happiness; that is, to know God! He is the beginning and the end of
every good, and He is the highest happiness.

[Footnote 2: From "The Consolations of Philosophy." The translation of
Alfred the Great, modernized. Boethius is not usually classed as a
Roman author, altho Gibbon said of him that he was "the last Roman
whom Cato or Cicero could have recognized as his countryman." Chaucer
made a translation of Boethius, which was printed by Caxton. John
Walton made a version in 1410, which was printed at a monastery in
1525. Another early version made by George Coluile was published in
1556. Several others appeared in the sixteenth century.]

Then said the Mind: This, methinks, must be the highest good, so that
man should need no other good, nor moreover be solicitous beyond
that--since he possesses that which is the roof of all other goods;
for it includes all other goods, and has all of them within it. It
would not be the highest good if any good were external to it, because
it would then have to desire some good which itself had not.

Then answered Reason, and said: It is very evident that this is the
highest happiness, for it is both the roof and floor of all good. What
is that, then, but the best happiness, which gathers the other
felicities all within it, and includes, and holds them within it; and
to it there is a deficiency of none, neither has it need of any; but
they all come from it, and again all return to it; as all waters come
from the sea, and again all come to the sea? There is none in the
little fountain which does not seek the sea, and again, from the sea
it arrives at the earth, and so it flows gradually through the earth,
till it again comes to the same fountain that it before flowed from,
and so again to the sea.

Now this is an example of the true goods which all mortal men desire
to obtain, tho they by various ways think to arrive at them. For every
man has natural good in himself, because every man desires to obtain
the true good; but it is hindered by the transitory goods, because it
is more prone thereto. For some men think that it is the best
happiness that a man be so rich that he have need of nothing more; and
they choose life accordingly. Some men think that this is the highest
good, that he be among his fellows the most honorable of his fellows,
and they with all energy seek this. Some think that the supreme good
is in the highest power. These desire, either for themselves to rule,
or else to associate themselves in friendship with their rulers. Some
persuade themselves that it is the best that a man be illustrious and
celebrated, and have good fame; they therefore seek this both in peace
and in war. Many reckon it for the greatest good and for the greatest
happiness, that a man be always blithe in this present life, and
fulfil all his lusts. Some, indeed, who desire these riches, are
desirous thereof, because they would have the greater power, that they
may the more securely enjoy these worldly lusts, and also the riches.
Many there are of those who desire power because they would gather
overmuch money; or, again, they are desirous to spread the celebrity
of their name.

On account of such and other like frail and perishable advantages, the
thought of every human mind is troubled with solicitude and with
anxiety. It then imagines that it has obtained some exalted goods when
it has won the flattery of the people; and methinks that it has bought
a very false greatness. Some with much anxiety seek wives, that
thereby they may, above all things, have children, and also live
happily. True friends, then, I say, are the most precious things of
all these worldly felicities. They are not, indeed, to be reckoned as
worldly goods, but as divine; for deceitful fortune does not produce
them, but God, who naturally formed them as relations. For of every
other thing in this world man is desirous, either that he may through
it attain to power, or else some worldly lust; except of the true
friend, whom he loves sometimes for affection and for fidelity, tho
he expect to himself no other rewards. Nature joins and cements
friends together with inseparable love. But with these worldly goods,
and with this present wealth, men make oftener enemies than friends.
By these and by many such things it may be evident to all men that all
the bodily goods are inferior to the faculties of the soul.

We indeed think that a man is the stronger because he is great in his
body. The fairness, moreover, and the vigor of the body, rejoices and
delights the man, and health makes him cheerful. In all these bodily
felicities, men seek simple happiness, as it seems to them. For
whatsoever every man chiefly loves above all other things, that he
persuades himself is best for him, and that is his highest good. When,
therefore, he has acquired that, he imagines that he may be very
happy. I do not deny that these goods and this happiness are the
highest good of this present life. For every man considers that thing
best which he chiefly loves above other things; and therefore he
persuades himself that he is very happy if he can obtain what he then
most desires. Is not now clearly enough shown to thee the form of the
false goods, that is, then, possessions, dignity, and power, and
glory, and pleasure? Concerning pleasure Epicurus the philosopher
said, when he inquired concerning all those other goods which we
before mentioned; then said he that pleasure was the highest good,
because all the other goods which we before mentioned gratify the mind
and delight it, but pleasure alone chiefly gratifies the body.

But we will still speak concerning the nature of men, and concerning
their pursuits. Tho, then, their mind and their nature be now dimmed,
and they are by that fall sunk down to evil, and thither inclined, yet
they are desirous, so far as they can and may, of the highest good. As
a drunken man knows that he should go to his house and to his rest,
and yet is not able to find the way thither, so is it also with the
mind when it is weighed down by the anxieties of this world. It is
sometimes intoxicated and misled by them, so far that it can not
rightly find out good. Nor yet does it appear to those men that they
at all err, who are desirous to obtain this, that they need labor
after nothing more. But they think that they are able to collect
together all these goods, so that none may be excluded from the
number. They therefore know no other good than the collecting of all
the most precious things into their power that they may have need of
nothing besides them. But there is no one that has not need of some
addition, except God alone. He has of His own enough, nor has He need
of anything but that which He has in Himself.

Dost thou think, however, that they foolishly imagine that that thing
is best deserving of all estimation which they may consider most
desirable? No, no. I know that it is not to be despised. How can that
be evil which the mind of every man considers to be good, and strives
after, and desires to obtain? No, it is not evil; it is the highest
good. Why is not power to be reckoned one of the highest goods of this
present life? Is that to be esteemed vain and useless which is the
most useful of all those worldly things, that is, power? Is good fame
and renown to be accounted nothing? No, no. It is not fit that any
one account it nothing; for every man thinks that best which he most
loves. Do we not know that no anxiety, or difficulties, or trouble, or
pain, or sorrow, is happiness? What more, then, need we say about
these felicities? Does not every man know what they are, and also know
that they are the highest good? And yet almost every man seeks in very
little things the best felicities; because he thinks that he may have
them all if he have that which he then chiefly wishes to obtain. This
is, then, what they chiefly wish to obtain, wealth, and dignity, and
authority, and this world's glory, and ostentation, and worldly lust.
Of all this they are desirous because they think that, through these
things, they may obtain: that there be not to them a deficiency of
anything wished; neither of dignity, nor of power, nor of renown, nor
of bliss. They wish for all this, and they do well that they desire
it, tho they seek it variously. By these things we may clearly
perceive that every man is desirous of this, that, he may obtain the
highest good, if they were able to discover it, or knew how to seek it
rightly. But they do not seek it in the most right way. It is not of
this world.


     Born near Aquino, Italy, probably in 1225, died in 1274;
     entered the Dominican order; studied at Cologne under
     Albertus Magnus; taught at Cologne, Paris, Rome and Bologna;
     his chief work the "Summa Theologiæ"; his complete writings
     collected in 1787.


The word end has two meanings. In one meaning it stands for the thing
itself which we desire to gain: thus the miser's end is money. In
another meaning it stands for the near attainment, or possession, or
use, or enjoyment of the thing desired, as if one should say that the
possession of money is the miser's end, or the enjoyment of something
pleasant the end of the sensualist. In the first meaning of the word,
therefore, the end of man is the Uncreated Good, namely God, who alone
of His infinite goodness can perfectly satisfy the will of man. But
according to the second meaning, the last end of man is something
created, existing in himself, which is nothing else than the
attainment or enjoyment of the last end. Now the last end is called
happiness. If therefore the happiness of a man is considered in its
cause or object, in that way it is something uncreated; but if it is
considered in essence, in that way happiness is a created thing.

[Footnote 3: From the "Ethics." The complete works of Aquinas were
published in 1787; but a new and notable edition was compiled in 1883
under the intimate patronage of Pope Leo XIII, to whom is given credit
for a modern revival of interest in his writings.]

Happiness is said to be the sovereign good of man, because it is the
attainment or enjoyment of the sovereign good. So far as the happiness
of man is something created, existing in the man himself, we must say
that the happiness of man is an act. For happiness is the last
perfection of man. But everything is perfect so far as it is in act;
for potentiality without actuality is imperfect. Happiness, therefore,
must consist in the last and crowning act of man. But it is manifest
that activity is the last and crowning act of an active being; whence
also it is called by the philosopher "the second act." And hence it is
that each thing is said to be for the sake of its activity. It needs
must be therefore that the happiness of man is a certain activity.

Life has two meanings. One way it means the very being of the living,
and in that way happiness is not life; for of God alone can it be said
that His own being is His happiness. In another way life is taken to
mean the activity on the part of the living thing by which activity
the principle of life is reduced to act. Thus we speak of an active or
contemplative life, or of a life of pleasure; and in this way the last
end is called life everlasting, as is clear from the text: "This is
life everlasting, that they know Thee, the only true God."

By the definition of Boethius, that happiness is "a state made perfect
by the aggregate sum of all things good," nothing else is meant than
that the happy man is in a state of perfect good. But Aristotle has
exprest the proper essence of happiness, showing by what it is that
man is constituted in such a state, namely, by a certain activity.

Action is two-fold. There is one variety that proceeds from the agent
to exterior matter, as the action of cutting and burning, and such an
activity can not be happiness, for such activity is not an act and
perfection of the agent, but rather of the patient. There is another
action immanent, or remaining in the agent himself, as feeling,
understanding, and willing. Such action is a perfection and act of the
agent, and an activity of this sort may possibly be happiness.

Since happiness means some manner of final perfection, happiness must
have different meanings according to the different grades of
perfection that there are attainable by different beings capable of
happiness. In God is happiness by essence, because His very being is
His activity, because He does not enjoy any other thing than Himself.
In the angels final perfection is by way of a certain activity,
whereby they are united to the uncreated good; and this activity is in
them one and everlasting. In men, in the state of the present life,
final perfection is by way of an activity whereby they are united to
God. But this activity can not be everlasting or continuous, and by
consequence it is not one, because an act is multiplied by
interruption; and, therefore, in this state of the present life,
perfect happiness is not to be had by man.

Hence the philosopher, placing the happiness of man in this life, says
that it is imperfect, and after much discussion he comes to this
conclusion: "We call them happy, so far as happiness can be
predicated of men." But we have a promise from God of perfect
happiness, when we shall be "like the angels in heaven." As regards
this perfect happiness, the objection drops, because in this state of
happiness the mind of man is united to God by one continuous and
everlasting activity. But in the present life, so far as we fall short
of the unity and continuity of such an activity, so much do we lose of
the perfection of happiness. There is, however, granted us a certain
participation in happiness, and the more continuous and undivided the
activity can be the more will it come up to the idea of happiness. And
therefore in the active life, which is busied with many things, there
is less of the essence of happiness than in the contemplative life,
which is busy with the one occupation of the contemplation of truth.


     Born in Rhenish Prussia about 1380, died in the Netherlands
     in 1471; his real name Thomas Hammerken; entered an
     Augustinian convent near Zwolle in 1407; became sub-prior of
     the convent in 1423 and again in 1447; generally accepted as
     the author of "The Imitation of Christ."


Son, when thou perceivest the desire of eternal bliss to be infused
into thee from above, and thou wouldst fain go out of the tabernacle
of this body, that thou mightest contemplate My brightness without any
shadow of change--enlarge thy heart, and receive this holy inspiration
with thy whole desire.

[Footnote 4: From "The Imitation of Christ." Altho commonly ascribed
to Thomas à Kempis, there has been much controversy as to the real
authorship of this famous work. Many early editions bear the name of
Thomas, including one of the year 1471, which is sometimes thought to
be the first. As against his authorship it is contended that he was a
professional copyist, and that the use of his name in the first
edition conformed to a custom that belonged more to a transcriber than
to an author. One of the earliest English versions of Thomas à Kempis
was made by Wyllyam Atkynson and printed by Wykyns de Worde in 1502. A
translation by Edward Hake appeared in 1567. Many other early English
editions are known.]

Return the greatest thanks to the Supreme Goodness, which dealeth so
condescendingly with thee, mercifully visiteth thee, ardently inciteth
thee, and powerfully raiseth thee up, lest by thy own weight thou
fall down to the things of earth.

For it is not by thy own thoughtfulness or endeavor that thou
receivest this, but by the mere condescension of heavenly grace and
divine regard; that so thou mayest advance in virtues and greater
humility, and prepare thyself for future conflicts, and labor with the
whole affection of thy heart to keep close to Me, and serve Me with a
fervent will.

Son, the fire often burneth, but the flame ascendeth not without

And so the desires of some are on fire after heavenly things, and yet
they are not free from the temptation of carnal affection.

Therefore is it not altogether purely for God's honor that they act,
when they so earnestly petition Him.

Such also is oftentimes thy desire, which thou hast profest to be so

For that is not pure and perfect which, is alloyed with self-interest.

Ask not that which is pleasant and convenient, but that which is
acceptable to Me and My honor; for if thou judgest rightly, thou
oughtest to prefer and to follow My appointment rather than thine own
desire or any other desirable thing.

I know thy desire, and I have often heard thy groanings.

Thou wouldst wish to be already in the liberty of the glory of the
children of God.

Now doth the eternal dwelling, and the heavenly country full of
festivity, delight thee.

But that hour is not yet come; for there is yet another time, a time
of war, a time of labor and of probation.

Thou desirest to be filled with the Sovereign Good, but thou canst not
at present attain to it.

I am He: wait for Me, saith the Lord, until the kingdom of God come.

Thou hast yet to be tried upon earth and exercised in many things.

Consolation shall sometimes be given thee, but abundant satiety shall
not be granted thee.

Take courage, therefore, and be valiant, as well in doing as in
suffering things repugnant to nature.

Thou must put on the new man, and be changed into another person.

That which thou wouldst not, thou must oftentimes do; and that which
thou wouldst, thou must leave undone.

What pleaseth others shall prosper, what is pleasing to thee shall not

What others say shall be harkened to; what thou sayest shall be
reckoned as naught.

Others shall ask, and shall receive; thou shalt ask, and not obtain.

Others shall be great in the esteem of men; about thee nothing shall
be said.

To others this or that shall be committed; but thou shalt be accounted
as of no use.

At this nature will sometimes repine, and it will be a great matter if
thou bear it with silence.

In these, and many such-like things, the faithful servant of the Lord
is wont to be tried how far he can deny and break himself in all

There is scarce anything in which thou standest so much in need of
dying to thyself as in seeing and suffering things that are contrary
to thy will, and more especially when those things are commanded which
seem to thee inconvenient and of little use.

And because, being under authority, thou darest not resist the higher
power, therefore it seemeth to thee hard to walk at the beck of
another, and wholly to give up thy own opinion.

But consider, son, the fruit of these labors, their speedy
termination, and their reward exceeding great; and thou wilt not hence
derive affliction, but the most strengthening consolation in thy

For in regard to that little of thy will which thou now willingly
forsakest, thou shalt forever have thy will in heaven.

For there thou shalt find all that thou willest, all that thou canst

There shall be to thee the possession of every good, without fear of
losing it.

There thy will, always one with Me, shall not covet any extraneous or
private thing. There no one shall resist thee, no one complain of
thee, no one obstruct thee, nothing shall stand in thy way; but every
desirable good shall be present at the same moment, shall replenish
all thy affections and satiate them to the full.

There I will give thee glory for the contumely thou hast suffered; a
garment of praise for thy sorrow; and for having been seated here in
the lowest place, the throne of My kingdom forever.

There will the fruit of obedience appear, there will the labor of
penance rejoice, and humble subjection shall be gloriously crowned.

Now, therefore, bow thyself down humbly under the hands of all, and
heed not who it was that said or commanded this.

But let it be thy great care, that whether thy superior or inferior or
equal require anything of thee, or hint at anything, thou take all in
good part, and labor with a sincere will to perform it.

Let one seek this, another that; let this man glory in this thing,
another in that, and be praised a thousand thousand times: but thou,
for thy part, rejoice neither in this nor in that, but in the contempt
of thyself, and in My good pleasure and honor alone.

This is what thou hast to wish for, that whether in life or in death,
God may be always glorified in thee.




     Born between 1150 and 1165, died in 1212; marshal of
     Champagne in 1191; joined the Crusade in 1199 under
     Theobault III; negotiated successfully with Venice for the
     transfer of the Crusaders by sea to the Holy Land; followed
     the Crusade and chronicled all its events from 1198 to 1207.



This night passed and the day came which was Thursday morning (13
April, 1204), and then every one in the camp armed themselves, the
knights and the soldiers, and each one joined his battle corps. The
Marquis of Montferrat advanced toward the palace of Bucoleon; and
having occupied it, determined to spare the lives of all those he
found therein. There were found there women of the highest rank, and
of the most honorable character; the sister of the King of France who
had been an empress; and the sister of the King of Hungary, and other
women of quality. Of the treasure that there was in the palace, I can
not speak; for there was so much that it was without end or measure.
Besides this palace which was surrendered to the Marquis Boniface of
Montferrat, that of Blachem was surrendered to Henry, brother of Count
Baldwin of Flanders.

[Footnote 5: From the "Chronicles." This work is important; first, as
a record, generally accepted as eminently trustworthy, and second, for
its literary excellence, in which sense it has been held in peculiar
esteem. George Saintsbury remarks that those chronicles "are by
universal consent among the most attractive works of the Middle Ages."
They comprize one of the oldest extant examples of French prose. The
passage here given was translated for this collection from the old
French by Eric Arthur Bell. A translation by T. Smith was published in

This sack of Constantinople followed what is known as the Latin
Conquest. More than thirty sieges of the city have occurred. After the
conquest here referred to Constantinople was occupied by the Latins.
It was finally wrested from them by Michael Palæologus. The conquest
of 1204 was achieved during the Fourth Crusade. By Latin Conquest is
meant a conquest by Western Christians as against its long-time Greek
rulers. This conquest was also inspired by the commercial ambition of
the Venetians, who had long coveted what were believed to be the
fabulous riches of the city. The Latin Empire survived for fifty-six
years in a state of almost constant weakness. The conquest had no
direct relation to the original purpose of the Crusades, which was the
recovery of Jerusalem from the hands of the infidels.]

The booty that was found here was so great that it can only be
compared to that which was found in Bucoleon.[6] Each soldier filled
the room that was assigned to him with plunder and had the treasure
guarded; and the others who were scattered through the city also had
their share of spoil. And the booty obtained was so great that it is
impossible for me to estimate it,--gold and silver and plate and
precious stones,--rich altar cloths and vestments of silk and robes of
ermine, and treasure that had been buried under the ground. And truly
doth testify Geoffrey of Ville-Hardouin, Marshal of Champagne, when he
says that never in the whole of history had a city yielded so much
plunder. Every man took as much as he could carry, and there was
enough for every one.

[Footnote 6: One of the districts into which the city was divided.]

Thus fared the Crusaders and the Venetians, and so great was the joy
and the honor of the victory that God had given them, that those who
had been in poverty were rich and living in luxury. Thus was passed
Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday in the honor and joy which God had
granted them. And they had good cause to be grateful to our Lord, for
they had no more than twenty thousand armed men among them all, and by
the grace of God they had captured four hundred thousand or more, and
that in the strongest city in the world (that is to say, city of any
size), and the best fortified.

Then it was announced throughout the whole army by the Marquis
Boniface of Montferrat, who was head of the army, and by the barons
and the Doge of Venice, that all the booty should be collected and
assessed under pain of excommunication. And the places were chosen in
three churches; and they put over them as guards French and Venetians,
the most loyal that they could find, and then each man began to bring
his booty and put it together. Some acted uprightly and others not,
for covetousness which is the root of all evil, prevented them; but
the covetous began from this moment to keep things back and our Lord
began to like them less. Oh God, how loyally they had behaved up to
that moment, and the Lord God had shown them that in everything He had
honored and favored them above all other people, and now the righteous
began to suffer for the wicked.

The plunder and the booty were collected; and you must know that it
was not all equally divided, for there were a number of those who
retained a share in spite of the dread of Papal excommunication.
Whatever was brought to the churches was collected and divided between
the French and Venetians equally as had been arranged. And you must
know that the Crusaders, when they had divided, paid on their part
fifty thousand marks of silver to the Venetians, and as for themselves
they divided a good hundred thousand among their own people. And do
you know how it was divided? Each horseman received double the share
of a foot soldier, and each knight double the share of a horseman. And
you must know that never did a man, either through his rank and
prowess receive anything more than had been arranged, unless it was

As for the thefts, those who were convicted of guilt, you must know
were dealt with summarily and there were enough people hung. The Count
of St. Paul hung one of his knights with his horse collar round his
neck, because he had kept something back, and there were a number who
kept things back, much and little, but this is not known for certain.

You may be assured that the booty was great, for not counting what was
stolen and the share that fell to the Venetians, a good four hundred
thousand marks of silver were brought back, and as many as ten
thousand animals of one kind and another. The plunder of
Constantinople was divided thus as you have heard.


     Born about 1224; died in 1317; attended Louis IX in the
     Seventh Crusade, spending six years in the East; his
     "Memoirs of Louis IX," presented by him in 1309 to the great
     grandson of Louis, and first published in 1547.


Not long after this, the chief of the Turks, before named, crost with
his army into the island that lies between the Rexi and Damietta
branches, where our army was encamped, and formed a line of battle,
extending from one bank of the river to the other. The Count d'Anjou,
who was on the spot, attacked the Turks, and defeated them so
completely that they took to flight, and numbers were drowned in each
of the branches of the Nile.

[Footnote 7: From the "Memoirs of Louis IX, King of France," commonly
called St. Louis. The passage here given is from Joinville's account
of a battle between Christians and Saracens, fought near the Damietta
branch of the Nile in 1240. Mr. Saintsbury remarks that Joinville's
work "is one of the most circumstantial records we have of medieval
life and thought." It was translated by Thomas Johnes, of Hafod, and
is now printed in Bohn's library.]

A large body, however, kept their ground, whom we dared not attack, on
account of their numerous machines, by which they did us great injury
with the divers things cast from them. During the attack on the Turks
by the Count d'Anjou, the Count Guy de Ferrois, who was in his company
galloped through the Turkish force, attended by his knights, until
they came to another battalion of Saracens, where they performed
wonders. But at last he was thrown to the ground with a broken leg,
and was led back by two of his knights, supporting him by the arms.

You must know there was difficulty in withdrawing the Count d'Anjou
from this attack, wherein he was frequently in the utmost danger, and
was ever after greatly honored for it.

Another large body of Turks made an attack on the Count de Poitiers
and me; but be assured they were very well received, and served in
like manner. It was well for them that they found their way back by
which they had come; but they left behind great numbers of slain. We
returned safely to our camp scarcely having lost any of our men.

One night the Turks brought forward an engine, called by them La
Perriere, a terrible engine to do mischief, and placed it opposite to
the chas-chateils, which Sir Walter De Curel and I were guarding by
night. From this engine they flung such quantities of Greek fire, that
it was the most horrible sight ever witnessed. When my companion, the
good Sir Walter, saw this shower of fire, he cried out, "Gentlemen, we
are all lost without remedy; for should they set fire to our
chas-chateils we must be burnt; and if we quit our post we are for
ever dishonored; from which I conclude, that no one can possibly save
us from this peril but God, our benignant Creator; I therefore advise
all of you, whenever they throw any of this Greek fire, to cast
yourselves on your hands and knees, and cry for mercy to our Lord, in
whom alone resides all power."

As soon, therefore, as the Turks threw their fires, we flung ourselves
on our hands and knees, as the wise man had advised; and this time
they fell between our two cats into a hole in front, which our people
had made to extinguish them; and they were instantly put out by a man
appointed for that purpose. This Greek fire, in appearance, was like a
large tun, and its tail was of the length of a long spear; the noise
which it made was like to thunder; and it seemed a great dragon of
fire flying through the air, giving so great a light with its flame,
that we saw in our camp as clearly as in broad day. Thrice this night
did they throw the fire from La Perriere, and four times from

Each time that our good King St. Louis heard them make these
discharges of fire, he cast himself on the ground, and with extended
arms and eyes turned to the heavens, cried with a loud voice to our
Lord, and shedding heavy tears, said "Good Lord God Jesus Christ,
preserve thou me, and all my people"; and believe me, his sincere
prayers were of great service to us. At every time the fire fell near
us, he sent one of his knights to know how we were, and if the fire
had hurt us. One of the discharges from the Turks fell beside a
chas-chateil, guarded by the men of the Lord Courtenay, struck the
bank of the river in front, and ran on the ground toward them, burning
with flame. One of the knights of this guard instantly came to me,
crying out, "Help us, my lord, or we are burnt; for there is a long
train of Greek fire, which the Saracens have discharged, that is
running straight for our castle."


     "Aucassin and Nicolette" is the title of a French romance of
     the thirteenth century, the name of the author being
     unknown. The only extant manuscript of the story is
     preserved in the National Library of France. Several
     translations into English are well known, among them those
     by Augustus R. MacDonough, F. W. Bourdillon and Andrew Lang.

How the Count Bougart of Valence made war on Count Garin of
Beaucaire,--war so great, so marvelous, and so mortal that never a day
dawned but always he was there, by the gates and walls and barriers of
the town, with a hundred knights, and ten thousand men-at-arms,
horsemen and footmen: so burned he the count's land, and spoiled his
country, and slew his men. Now, the Count Garin de Beaucaire was old
and frail, and his good days were gone over. No heir had he, neither
son nor daughter, save one young man only; such an one as I shall tell
you. Aucassin was the name of the damoiseau: fair was he, goodly, and
great, and featly fashioned of his body and limbs. His hair was
yellow, in little curls, his eyes blue-gray and laughing, his face
beautiful and shapely, his nose high and well set, and so richly seen
was he in all things good, that in him was none evil at all. But so
suddenly was he overtaken of Love, who is a great master, that he
would not, of his will, be a knight, nor take arms, nor follow
tourneys, nor do whatsoever him beseemed. Therefore his father and
mother said to him:

"Son, go take thine arms, mount thine horse, and hold thy land, and
help thy men, for if they see thee among them, more stoutly will they
keep in battle their lives and lands, and thine and mine."

"Father," answered Aucassin, "what are you saying now? Never may God
give me aught of my desire, if I be a knight, or mount my horse, or
face stour and battle wherein knights smite and are smitten again,
unless thou give me Nicolette, my true love, that I love so well."

"Son," said the father, "this may not be. Let Nicolette go. A
slave-girl is she, out of a strange land, and the viscount of this
town bought her of the Saracens, and carried her hither, and hath
reared her and had her christened, and made her his god-daughter, and
one day will find a young man for her, to win her bread honorably.
Herein hast thou naught to make nor mend; but if a wife thou wilt
have, I will give thee the daughter of a king, or a count. There is no
man so rich in France, but if thou desire his daughter, thou shall
have her."

"Faith! my father," said Aucassin, "tell me where is the place so high
in all the world, that Nicolette, my sweet lady and love, would not
grace it well? If she were Empress of Constantinople or of Germany, or
Queen of France or England, it were little enough for her; so gentle
is she and courteous, and debonnaire, and compact of all good

When Count Garin de Beaucaire knew that he would not avail to withdraw
Aucassin, his son, from the love of Nicolette, he went to the viscount
of the city, who was his man, and spake to him saying: "Sir Count:
away with Nicolette, thy daughter in God; curst be the land whence she
was brought into this country, for by reason of her do I lose
Aucassin, that will neither be a knight, nor do aught of the things
that fall to him to be done. And wit ye well," he said, "that if I
might have her at my will, I would turn her in a fire, and yourself
might well be sore adread."

"Sir," said the viscount, "this is grievous to me that he comes and
goes and hath speech with her. I had bought the maid at mine own
charges, and nourished her, and baptized, and made her my daughter in
God. Yea, I would have given her to a young man that should win her
bread honorably. With this had Aucassin, thy son, naught to make or
mend. But sith it is thy will and thy pleasure, I will send her into
that land and that country where never will he see her with his eyes."

"Have a heed to thyself," said the Count Garin: "thence might great
evil come on thee."

So parted they each from the other. Now the viscount was a right rich
man: so had he a rich palace with a garden in face of it; in an upper
chamber thereof he had Nicolette placed, with one old woman to keep
her company, and in that chamber put bread and meat and wine and such,
things as were needful. Then he had the door sealed, that none might
come in or go forth, save that there was one window, over against the
garden, and quite strait, through which came to them a little air....

Aucassin was cast into prison as ye have heard tell, and Nicolette, of
her part, was in the chamber. Now it was summer-time, the month of
May, when days are warm, and long, and clear, and the nights still and
serene. Nicolette lay one night on her bed, and saw the moon shine
clear through a window, and heard the nightingale sing in the garden,
and she minded her of Aucassin her friend, whom she loved so well.
Then fell she to thoughts of Count Garin of Beaucaire, that he hated
her to death; and therefore deemed she that there she would no longer
abide, for that, if she were told of, and the count knew where she
lay, an ill death he would make her die. She saw that the old woman
was sleeping, who held her company. Then she arose, and clad her in a
mantle of silk she had by her, very goodly, and took sheets of the bed
and towels and knotted one to the other, and made therewith a cord as
long as she might, and knotted it to a pillar in the window, and let
herself slip down into the garden; then caught up her raiment in both
hands, behind and before, and kilted up her kirtle, because of the dew
that she saw lying deep on the grass, and so went on her way down
through the garden.

Her locks were yellow and curled, her eyes blue-gray and smiling, her
face featly fashioned, the nose high and fairly set, the lips more red
than cherry or rose in time of summer, her teeth white and small; and
her breasts so firm that they bore up the folds of her bodice as they
had been two walnuts; so slim was she in the waist that your two hands
might have clipt her; and the daisy flowers that brake beneath her as
she went tiptoe, and that bent above her instep, seemed black against
her feet and ankles, so white was the maiden. She came to the
postern-gate, and unbarred it, and went out through the streets of
Beaucaire, keeping always on the shadowy side, for the moon was
shining right clear, and so wandered she till she came to the tower
where her lover lay. The tower was flanked with pillars, and she
cowered under one of them, wrapt in her mantle. Then thrust she her
head through a crevice of the tower, that was old and worn, and heard
Aucassin, who was weeping within, and making dole and lament for the
sweet friend he loved so well. And when she had listened to him some
time she began to speak....

When Aucassin heard Nicolette say that she would pass into a far
country, he was all in wrath.

"Fair, sweet friend," quoth he, "thou shalt not go, for then wouldst
thou be my death. And the first man that saw thee and had the might
withal, would take thee straightway into his bed to be his leman. And
once thou camest into a man's bed, and that bed not mine, wit ye well
that I would not tarry till I had found a knife to pierce my heart and
slay myself. Nay, verily, wait so long I would not; but would hurl
myself so far as I might see a wall, or a black stone, and I would
dash my head against it so mightily that the eyes would start and my
brain burst. Rather would I die even such a death than know that thou
hadst lain in a man's bed, and that bed not mine."

"Aucassin," she said, "I trow thou lovest me not as much as thou
sayest, but I love thee more than thou lovest me."

"Ah, fair, sweet friend," said Aucassin, "it may not be that thou
shouldest love me even as I love thee. Woman may not love man as man
loves woman; for a woman's love lies in her eye, and the bud of her
breast, and her foot's tiptoe, but the love of a man is in his heart
planted, whence it can never issue forth and pass away."

Now when Aucassin and Nicolette were holding this parley together, the
town's watchmen were coming down a street, with swords drawn beneath
their cloaks, for Count Garin had charged them that if they could take
her, they should slay her. But the sentinel that was on the tower saw
them coming, and heard them speaking of Nicolette as they went, and
threatening to slay her.

"God," quoth he, "this were great pity to slay so fair a maid! Right
great charity it were if I could say aught to her, and they perceive
it not, and she should be on her guard against them, for if they slay
her, then were Aucassin, my damoiseau, dead, and that were great

Aucassin fared through the forest from path to path after Nicolette,
and his horse bare him furiously. Think ye not that the thorns him
spared, nor the briers, nay, not so, but tare his raiment, that scarce
a knot might be tied with the soundest part thereof, and the blood
spurted from his arms, and flanks, and legs, in forty places, or
thirty, so that behind the Childe men might follow on the track of his
blood in the grass. But so much he went in thoughts of Nicolette, his
lady sweet, that he felt no pain nor torment, and all the day hurled
through the forest in this fashion nor heard no word of her. And when
he saw vespers draw nigh, he began to weep for that he found her not.
All down an old road, and grass-grown, he fared, when anon, looking
along the way before him, he saw such an one as I shall tell you. Tall
was he, and great of growth, ugly and hideous: his head huge, and
blacker than charcoal, and more than the breadth of a hand between his
two eyes; and he had great cheeks, and a big nose and flat, big
nostrils and wide, and thick lips redder than steak, and great teeth
yellow and ugly, and he was shod with hosen and shoon of ox-hide,
bound with cords of bark up over the knee, and all about him a great
cloak two-fold; and he leaned upon a grievous cudgel, and Aucassin
came unto him, and was afraid when he beheld him.

So they parted from each other, and Aucassin rode on; the night was
fair and still, and so long he went that he came to the lodge of
boughs that Nicolette had builded and woven within and without, over
and under, with flowers, and it was the fairest lodge that might be
seen. When Aucassin was ware of it, he stopt suddenly, and the light
of the moon fell therein.

"Forsooth!" quoth Aucassin, "here was Nicolette, my sweet lady, and
this lodge builded she with her fair hands. For the sweetness of it,
and for love of her, will I now alight, and rest here this night

He drew forth his foot from the stirrup to alight, and the steed was
great and tall. He dreamed so much on Nicolette, his right sweet
friend, that he fell heavily upon a stone, and drave his shoulder out
of its place. Then knew he that he was hurt sore; nathless he bore him
with that force he might, and fastened his horse with the other hand
to a thorn. Then turned he on his side, and crept backwise into the
lodge of boughs. And he looked through a gap in the lodge and saw the
stars in heaven, and one that was brighter than the rest; so began he
to speak....

When Nicolette heard Aucassin, she came to him, for she was not far
away. She passed within the lodge, and threw her arms about his neck,
clipt him and kissed him.

"Fair, sweet friend, welcome be thou!"

"And thou, fair, sweet love, be thou welcome!"

So either kissed and clipt the other, and fair joy was them between.

"Ha! sweet love," quoth Aucassin, "but now was I sore hurt, and my
shoulder wried, but I take no heed of it, nor have no hurt therefrom,
since I have thee."

Right so felt she his shoulder and found it was wried from its place.
And she so handled it with her white hands, and so wrought in her
surgery, that by God's will who loveth lovers, it went back into its
place. Then took she flowers, and fresh grass, and leaves green, and
bound them on the hurt with a strip of her smock, and he was all

When all they of the court heard her speak thus, that she was daughter
to the King of Carthage, they knew well that she spake truly; so made
they great joy of her, and led her to the castle with great honor, as
a king's daughter. And they would have given her to her lord a king of
Paynim, but she had no mind to marry. There dwelt she three days or
four. And she considered by what device she might seek for Aucassin.
Then she got her a viol, and learned to play on it; till they would
have married her one day to a rich king of Paynim, and she stole
forth by night, and came to the seaport, and dwelt with a poor woman
thereby. Then took she a certain herb, and therewith smeared her head
and her face, till she was all brown and stained. And she had a coat,
and mantle, and smock, and breeches made, and attired herself as if
she had been a minstrel. So took she the viol and went to a mariner,
and so wrought on him that he took her aboard his vessel. Then hoisted
they sail, and fared on the high seas even till they came to the land
of Provence. And Nicolette went forth and took the viol, and went
playing through all the country, even till she came to the castle of
Beaucaire, where Aucassin was.


     Born in France in 1337, died in 1410; went to England in
     1360 by invitation of Queen Philippa, a French woman;
     visited Scotland in 1365 and Italy in 1368, where he met
     Petrarch, and Chaucer; published his "Chronicles," covering
     events from 1325 until about 1400, at the close of the
     fifteenth century, the same being one of the first books
     printed from movable types; the modern edition comprizes
     twenty-five volumes.



The Englishmen, who were in three battles lying on the ground to rest
them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen approach, they rose upon their
feet fair and easily without any haste, and arranged their battles.
The first, which was the Prince's battle, the archers there stood in
manner of a herse and the men of arms in the bottom of the battle. The
Earl of Northampton and the Earl of Arundel with the second battle
were on a wing in good order, ready to comfort the Prince's battle, if
need were.

[Footnote 8: The field of Crécy lies about thirty miles northwest of
Amiens, in France. The English under Edward III, numbering about
40,000 men, here defeated the French under Philip VI, numbering 80,000
men, the French loss being commonly placed at 30,000.

Of the merits of Froissart, only one opinion has prevailed. He drew a
faithful and vivid picture of events which in the main were personally
known to him. "No more graphic account exists of any age," says one
writer. Froissart was first translated into English in 1525 by
Bourchier, Lord Berners, That translation was superseded later by
others. In 1802-1805 Thomas Johnes made another translation, which has
since been the one chiefly read.]

The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly together in
good order, for some came before and some came after, in such haste
and evil order that one of them did trouble another. When the French
King saw the Englishmen his blood changed, and said to his marshals,
"Make the Genoways go on before, and begin the battle, in the name of
God and St. Denis." There were of the Genoways' cross-bows about a
fifteen thousand, but they were so weary of going afoot that day a six
leagues armed with their cross-bows, that they said to their
constables, "We be not well ordered to fight this day, for we be not
in the case to do any great deed of arms: we have more need of rest."
These words came to the Earl of Alençon, who said, "A man is well at
ease to be charged with such a sort of rascals, to be faint and fail
now at most need." Also the same season there fell a great rain and a
clipse with a terrible thunder, and before the rain there came flying
over both battles a great number of crows for fear of the tempest

Then anon the air began to wax clear, and the sun to shine fair and
bright, the which was right in the Frenchmen's eyen and on the
Englishmen's backs. When the Genoways were assembled together and
began to approach, they made a great leap and cry to abash the
Englishmen, but they stood still and stirred not for all that; then
the Genoways again the second time made another leap and a fell cry,
and stept forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not one foot;
thirdly, again they leapt and cried, and went forth till they came
within shot; then they shot fiercely with their cross-bows. Then the
English archers stept forth one pace and let fly their arrows so
wholly and so thick, that it seemed snow. When the Genoways felt the
arrows piercing through heads, arms, and breasts, many of them cast
down their cross-bows, and did cut their strings and returned
discomfited. When the French King saw them fly away, he said, "Slay
these rascals, for they shall let and trouble us without reason."

Then ye should have seen the men of arms dash in among them and killed
a great number of them; and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas
they saw thickest press the sharp arrows ran into the men of arms and
into their horses, and many fell, horse and men, among the Genoways,
and when they were down, they could not relieve again; the press was
so thick that one overthrew another. And also among the Englishmen
there were certain rascals that went afoot with great knives, and they
went in among the men of arms and slew and murdered many as they lay
on the ground, both earls, barons, knights, and squires; whereof the
King of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been
taken prisoners.

The valiant King of Bohemia called Charles of Luxembourg, son to the
noble Emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was nigh blind,
when he understood the order of the battle, he said to them about him,
"Where is the Lord Charles my son?" His men said, "Sir, we can not
tell; we think he be fighting." Then he said, "Sirs, ye are my men, my
companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far
forward that I may strike one stroke with my sword." They said they
would do his commandment, and to the intent that they should not lose
him in the press, they tied all their reins of their bridles each to
other and set the King before to accomplish his desire, and so they
went on their enemies. The Lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote
himself King of Almaine and bare the arms, he came in good order to
the battle; but when he saw that the matter went awry on their party,
he departed, I can not tell you which way. The King his father was so
far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea, and more than
four, and fought valiantly, and so did his company; and they
adventured themselves so forward that they were there all slain, and
the next day they were found in the place about the King, and all
their horses tied each to other.

The Earl of Alençon came to the battle right ordinately and fought
with the Englishmen, and the Earl of Flanders also on his part. These
two lords with their companies coasted the English archers and came to
the Prince's battle, and there fought valiantly long. The French King
would fain have come thither, when he saw their banners, but there was
a great hedge of archers before him. The same day the French King had
given a great black courser to Sir John of Hainault, and he made the
Lord Thierry of Senzeille to ride on him and to bear his banner. The
same horse took the bridle in the teeth and brought him through all
the currours of the Englishmen, and as he would have returned again,
he fell in a great dike and was sore hurt, and had been there dead,
and his page had not been, who followed him through all the battles
and saw where his master lay in the dike, and had none other let but
for his horse; for the Englishmen would not issue out of their battle
for taking of any prisoner. Then the page alighted and relieved his
master: then he went not back again the same way that they came; there
was too many in his way.

This battle between Broye and Crécy this Saturday was right cruel and
fell, and many a feat of arms done that came not to my knowledge. In
the night divers knights and squires lost their masters, and sometime
came on the Englishmen, who received them in such wise that they were
ever nigh slain; for there was none taken to mercy nor to ransom, for
so the Englishmen were determined.

In the morning the day of the battle certain Frenchmen and Almains
perforce opened the archers of the Prince's battle, and came and
fought with the men of arms hand to hand. Then the second battle of
the Englishmen came to succor the Prince's battle, the which was time,
for they had as then much ado; and they with the Prince sent a
messenger to the King, who was on a little windmill hill. Then the
knight said to the King, "Sir, the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of
Oxford, Sir Raynold Cobham and other, such as be about the Prince your
son, are fiercely fought withal and are sore handled; wherefore they
desire you that you and your battle will come and aid them; for if the
Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they will, your son and they shall
have much ado." Then the King said, "Is my son dead, or hurt, or on
the earth felled?" "No, sir," quoth the knight, "but he is hardly
matched; wherefore he hath need of your aid." "Well," said the King,
"return to him and to them that sent you hither, and say to them that
they send no more to me for any adventure that falleth, as long as my
son is alive: and also say to them that they suffer him this day to
win his spurs; for if God be pleased, I will this journey be his and
the honor thereof, and to them that be about him." Then the knight
returned again to them and shewed the King's words, the which, greatly
encouraged them, and repined in that they had sent to the King as they

Sir Godfrey of Harcourt would gladly that the Earl of Harcourt, his
brother, might have been saved; for he heard say by them that saw his
banner how that he was there in the field on the French party: but Sir
Godfrey could not come to him betimes, for he was slain or he could
come at him, and so was also the Earl of Aumale his nephew. In another
place the Earl of Alençon and the Earl of Flanders fought valiantly,
every lord under his own banner; but finally they could not resist
against the puissance of the Englishmen, and so there they were also
slain, and divers other knights and squires. Also the Earl Louis of
Blois, nephew to the French King, and the Duke of Lorraine, fought
under their banners; but at last they were closed in among a company
of Englishmen and Welshmen, and there were slain for all their
prowess. Also there was slain the Earl of Auxerre, the Earl of
Saint-Pol, and many other.

In the evening the French King, who had left about him no more than a
threescore persons, one and other, whereof Sir John of Hainault was
one, who had remounted once the King, for his horse was slain with an
arrow, then he said to the King, "Sir, depart hence, for it is time;
lose not yourself willfully: if ye have loss at this time, ye shall
recover it again another season." And so he took the King's horse by
the bridle and led him away in a manner perforce. Then the King rode
till he came to the castle of Broye. The gate was closed, because it
was by that time dark: then the King called the captain, who came to
the walls and said, "Who is that calleth there this time of night?"
Then the King said, "Open your gate quickly, for this is the fortune
of France." The captain knew then it was the King, and opened the gate
and let down the bridge. Then the King entered, and he had with him
but five barons, Sir John of Hainault, Sir Charles of Montmorency, the
Lord of Beaujeu, the Lord d'Aubigny, and the Lord of Montsault. The
King would not tarry there, but drank and departed thence about
midnight, and so rode by such guides as knew the country till he came
in the morning to Amiens, and there he rested.

This Saturday the Englishmen never departed from their battles for
chasing of any man, but kept still their field, and ever defended
themselves against all such as came to assail them This battle ended
about evensong time.


     Born in France about 1445, died in 1511; after serving
     Charles the Bold, went over to Louis XI, in whose household
     he was a confidant and adviser; arrested on political
     charges in 1486 and imprisoned more than two years; arrested
     later by Charles VIII and exiled for ten years; returning to
     court, he fell into disgrace, went into retirement and wrote
     his "Memoirs," the first series covering the history of
     France between 1464 and 1483, the second, the period from
     1494 to 1498.


I have seen many deceptions in this world, especially in servants
toward their masters; and I have always found that proud and stately
princes who will hear but few, are more liable to be imposed upon than
those who are open and accessible: but of all the princes that I ever
knew, the wisest and most dexterous to extricate himself out of any
danger or difficulty in time of adversity was our master King Louis
XI. He was the humblest in his conversation and habit, and the most
painful and indefatigable to win over any man to his side that he
thought capable of doing him either mischief or service: tho he was
often refused, he would never give over a man that he wished to gain,
but still prest and continued his insinuations, promising him largely,
and presenting him with such sums and honors as he knew would gratify
his ambition; and for such as he had discarded in time of peace and
prosperity, he paid dear (when he had occasion for them) to recover
them again; but when he had once reconciled them, he retained no
enmity toward them for what has passed, but employed them freely for
the future. He was naturally kind and indulgent to persons of mean
estate, and hostile to all great men who had no need of him.

[Footnote 9: From the "Memoirs." Louis reigned from 1461 to 1483. It
was he, more than any other king, who represt the power of the feudal
princes and consolidated their territories under the French monarchy.

Comines has been called "the father of modern history." Hallam says
his work "almost makes an epoch in historical literature"; while
Sainte-Beuve has declared that from it "all political history takes
its rise." Comines was translated into English by T. Banett in 1596.
The best-known modern translation is the one in Bohn's Library, made
by Andrew R. Scoble.]

Never prince was so conversable nor so inquisitive as he, for his
desire was to know everybody he could; and indeed he knew all persons
of any authority or worth in England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, in
the territories of the Dukes of Burgundy and Bretagne, and among his
own subjects: and by those qualities he preserved the crown upon his
head, which was in much danger by the enemies he had created to
himself upon his accession to the throne.

But above all, his great bounty and liberality did him the greatest
service: and yet, as he behaved himself wisely in time of distress, so
when he thought himself a little out of danger, tho it were but by a
truce, he would disoblige the servants and officers of his court by
mean and petty ways which were little to his advantage; and as for
peace, he could hardly endure the thoughts of it. He spoke slightingly
of most people, and rather before their faces than behind their
backs; unless he was afraid of them, and of that sort there were a
great many, for he was naturally somewhat timorous. When he had done
himself any prejudice by his talk, or was apprehensive he should do
so, and wished to make amends, he would say to the person whom he had
disobliged, "I am sensible my tongue has done me a good deal of
mischief; but on the other hand, it has sometimes done me much good:
however, it is but reason I should make some reparation for the
injury." And he never used this kind of apologies to any person but he
granted some favor to the person to whom he made it, and it was always
of considerable amount.

It is certainly a great blessing from God upon any prince to have
experienced adversity as well as prosperity, good as well as evil, and
especially if the good outweighs the evil, as it did in the King our
master. I am of opinion that the troubles he was involved in in his
youth, when he fled from his father and resided six years together
with Philip, Duke of Burgundy, were of great service to him; for there
he learned to be complaisant to such as he had occasion to use, which
was no slight advantage of adversity. As soon as he found himself a
powerful and crowned king, his mind was wholly bent upon revenge; but
he quickly found the inconvenience of this, repented by degrees of his
indiscretion, and made sufficient reparation for his folly and error
by regaining those he had injured. Besides, I am very confident that
if his education had not been different from the usual education of
such nobles as I have seen in France, he could not so easily have
worked himself out of his troubles: for they are brought up to
nothing but to make themselves ridiculous, both in their clothes and
discourse; they have no knowledge of letters; no wise man is suffered
to come near them, to improve their understandings; they have
governors who manage their business, but they do nothing themselves:
nay, there are some nobles who tho they have an income of thirteen
livres, will take pride to bid you "Go to my servants and let them
answer you," thinking by such speeches to imitate the state and
grandeur of a prince; and I have seen their servants take great
advantage of them, giving them to understand they were fools; and if
afterward they came to apply their minds to business and attempted to
manage their own affairs, they began so late they could make nothing
of it. And it is certain that all those who have performed any great
or memorable action worthy to be recorded in history, began always in
their youth; and this is to be attributed to the method of their
education, or some particular blessing of God....

Of all diversions he loved hunting and hawking in their seasons; but
his chief delight was in dogs. In hunting, his eagerness and pain were
equal to his pleasure, for his chase was the stag, which he always ran
down. He rose very early in the morning, rode sometimes a great
distance, and would not leave his sport, let the weather be never so
bad; and when he came home at night he was often very weary, and
generally in a violent passion with some of his courtiers or huntsmen;
for hunting is a sport not always to be managed according to the
master's direction; yet in the opinion of most people, he understood
it as well as any prince of his time. He was continually at these
sports, lodging in the country villages to which his recreations led
him, till he was interrupted by business; for during the most part of
the summer there was constantly war between him and Charles, Duke of
Burgundy, and in the winter they made truces; so that he had but a
little time during the whole year to spend in pleasure, and even then
the fatigues he underwent were excessive. When his body was at rest
his mind was at work, for he had affairs in several places at once,
and would concern himself as much in those of his neighbors as in his
own; putting officers of his own over all the great families, and
endeavoring to divide their authority as much as possible. When he was
at war he labored for a peace or a truce, and when he had obtained it
he was impatient for war again. He troubled himself with many trifles
in his government which he had better have left alone: but it was his
temper, and he could not help it; besides, he had a prodigious memory,
and he forgot nothing, but knew everybody, as well in other countries
as in his own.

And in truth he seemed better fitted to rule a world than to govern a
single kingdom. I speak not of his minority, for then I was not with
him; but when he was eleven years he was, by the advice of some of the
nobility and others of his kingdom, embroiled in a war with his
father, Charles VII, which lasted not long, and was called the
Praguerie. When he was arrived at man's estate he was married, much
against his inclination, to the King of Scotland's daughter; and he
regretted her existence during the whole course of her life.
Afterward, by reason of the broils and factions in his father's court,
he retired into Dauphiny (which was his own), whither many persons of
quality followed him, and indeed more than he could entertain. During
his residence in Dauphiny he married the Duke of Savoy's daughter, and
not long after he had great disputes with his father-in-law, and a
terrible war was begun between them.

His father, King Charles VII, seeing his son attended by so many good
officers and raising men at his pleasure, resolved to go in person
against him with a considerable body of forces, in order to disperse
them. While he was upon his march he put out proclamations, requiring
them all as his subjects, under great penalties, to repair to him; and
many obeyed, to the great displeasure of the Dauphin, who finding his
father incensed, tho he was strong enough to resist, resolved to
retire and leave that country to him; and accordingly he removed with
but a slender retinue into Burgundy to Duke Philip's court, who
received him honorably, furnished him nobly, and maintained him and
his principal servants by way of pensions; and to the rest he gave
presents as he saw occasion during the whole time of their residence
there. However, the Dauphin entertained so many at his own expense
that his money often failed, to his great disgust and mortification;
for he was forced to borrow, or his people would have forsaken him;
which is certainly a great affliction to a prince who was utterly
unaccustomed to those straits. So that during his residence at the
court of Burgundy he had his anxieties, for he was constrained to
cajole the duke and his ministers, lest they should think he was too
burdensome and had laid too long upon their hands; for he had been
with them six years, and his father, King Charles, was constantly
pressing and soliciting the Duke of Burgundy, by his ambassadors,
either to deliver him up to him or to banish him out of his dominions.
And this, you may believe, gave the Dauphin some uneasy thoughts and
would not suffer him to be idle. In which season of his life, then,
was it that he may be said to have enjoyed himself? I believe from his
infancy and innocence to his death, his whole life was nothing but one
continued scene of troubles and fatigues; and I am of opinion that if
all the days of his life were computed in which his joys and pleasures
outweighed his pain and trouble, they would be found so few that there
would be twenty mournful ones to one pleasant.


     Born in France in 1492, died in 1549; sister of Francis I;
     married in 1509 Due d'Alençon, and later Henri d'Albret,
     King of Navarre; assumed the direction of government after
     the death of the King in 1554; wrote poems and letters, the
     latter published in 1841-42; her "Heptameron" modeled on the
     "Decameron" of Boccaccio, published in 1558 after her death,
     its authorship perhaps collaborative.


A little company of five ladies and five noble gentlemen have been
interrupted in their travels by heavy rains and great floods, and find
themselves together in a hospitable abbey. They while away the time as
best they can, and the second day Parlamente says to the old Lady
Oisille, "Madame, I wonder that you who have so much experience do not
think of some pastime to sweeten the gloom that our long delay here
causes us." The other ladies echo her wishes, and all the gentlemen
agree with them, and beg the Lady Oisille to be pleased to direct how
they shall amuse themselves. She answers them:

[Footnote 10: From the "Heptameron," of which a translation by R.
Codrington appeared in London in 1654.]

"My children, you ask of me something that I find very difficult,--to
teach you a pastime that can deliver you from your sadness; for having
sought some such remedy all my life I have never found but one--the
reading of Holy Writ; in which is found the true and perfect joy of
the mind, from which proceed the comfort and health of the body. And
if you ask me what keeps me so joyous and so healthy in my old age, it
is that as soon as I rise I take and read the Holy Scriptures, seeing
and contemplating the will of God, who for our sakes sent His son on
earth to announce this holy word and good news, by which He promises
remission of sins, satisfaction for all duties by the gifts He makes
us of His love, passion and merits. This consideration gives me so
much joy that I take my Psalter and as humbly as I can I sing with my
heart and pronounce with my tongue the beautiful psalms and canticles
that the Holy Spirit wrote in the heart of David and of other authors.
And this contentment that I have in them does me so much good that the
ills that every day may happen to me seem to me to be blessings,
seeing that I have in my heart, by faith, Him who has borne them for
me. Likewise, before supper, I retire, to pasture my soul in reading;
and then, in the evening, I call to mind what I have done in the past
day, in order to ask pardon for my faults, and to thank Him for His
kindnesses, and in His love, fear and peace I repose, assured against
all ills. Wherefore, my children, this is the pastime in which I have
long stayed my steps, after having searched all things, where I found
no content for my spirit. It seems to me that if every morning you
will give an hour to reading, and then, during mass, devoutly say your
prayers, you will find in this desert the same beauty as in cities;
for he who knows God, sees all beautiful things in Him, and without
Him all is ugliness....

"I beg you, ladies," continues the narrator, "if God give you such
husbands,[11] not to despair till you have long tried every means to
reclaim them; for there are twenty-four hours in a day in which a man
may change his way of thinking, and a woman should deem herself
happier to have won her husband by patience and long effort than if
fortune and her parents had given her a more perfect one." "Yes," said
Oisille, "this is an example for all married women."--"Let her follow
this example who will," said Parlamente: "but as for me, it would not
be possible for me to have such long patience; for, however true it
may be that in all estates patience is a fine virtue, it's my opinion
that in marriage it brings about at last unfriendliness; because,
suffering unkindness from a fellow being, one is forced to separate
from him as far as possible, and from this separation arises a
contempt for the fault of the disloyal one, and in this contempt
little by little love diminishes; for it is what is valued that is
loved."--"But there is danger," said Ennarsuite, "that the impatient
wife may find a furious husband, who would give her pain in lieu of
patience."--"But what could a husband do," said Parlamente, "save what
has been recounted in this story?"--"What could he do?" said
Ennarsuite, "he could beat his wife."...

[Footnote 11: That is, unfaithful husbands.]

"I think," said Parlamente, "that a good woman would not be so grieved
in being beaten out of anger, as in being contemptuously treated by a
man who does not care for her, and after having endured the suffering
of the loss of his friendship, nothing the husband might do would
cause her much concern. And besides, the story says that the trouble
she took to draw him back to her was because of her love for her
children, and I believe it."--"And do you think it was so very patient
of her," said Nomerfide, "to set fire to the bed in which her husband
was sleeping?"--"Yes," said Longarine, "for when she saw the smoke she
awoke him; and that was just the thing where she was most in fault,
for of such husbands as those the ashes are good to make lye for the
washtub."--"You are cruel, Longarine," said Oisille, "and you did not
live in such fashion with your husband."--"No," said Longarine, "for,
God be thanked, he never gave me such occasion, but reason to regret
him all my life, instead of to complain of him."--"And if he had
treated you in this way," said Nomerfide, "what would you have
done?"--"I loved him so much," said Longarine, "that I think I should
have killed him and then killed myself; for to die after such
vengeance would be pleasanter to me than to live faithfully with a
faithless husband."

"As far as I see," said Hircan, "you love your husbands only for
yourselves. If they are good after your own heart, you love them well;
if they commit toward you the least fault in the world, they have lost
their week's work by a Saturday. The long and the short is that you
want to be mistresses; for my part I am of your mind, provided all the
husbands also agree to it."--"It is reasonable," said Parlamente,
"that the man rule us as our head, but not that he desert us or
ill-treat us."--"God," said Oisille, "has set in such due order the
man and the woman that if the marriage estate is not abused, I hold it
to be one of the most beautiful and stable conditions in the World;
and I am sure that all those here present, whatever air they assume,
think no less highly of it. And forasmuch as men say they are wiser
than women, they should be more sharply punished when the fault is on
their side. But we have talked enough on this subject."


     Born in Touraine in 1495, died in Paris in 1553; educated at
     an abbey and spent fifteen or more years as a monk; Studied
     medicine in 1530 and practised in Lyons; traveled in Italy;
     in charge of a parish at Meudon in 1550-52; composed
     almanacs and edited old medical books; published
     "Pantagruel" in 1533 and "Gargantua" in 1535, the success of
     which led to several sequels, the last appearing in the year
     of his death.



Gargantua, from three years to five, was nourished and instructed in
all proper discipline by the commandment of his father, and spent that
time like the other little children of the country,--that is, in
drinking, eating, and sleeping; in eating, sleeping, and drinking; and
in sleeping, drinking, and eating. Still he wallowed in the mire,
blackened his face, trod down his shoes at heel; at the flies he did
oftentimes yawn, and willingly run after the butterflies, the empire
whereof belonged to his father. He sharpened his teeth with a slipper,
washed his hands with his broth, combed his head with a bowl, sat down
between two stools and came to the ground, covered himself with a wet
sack, drank while eating his soup, ate his cake without bread, would
bite in laughing, laugh in biting, hide himself in the water for fear
of rain, go cross, fall into dumps, look demure, skin the fox, say the
ape's _paternoster_, return to his sheep, turn the sows into the hay,
beat the dog before the lion, put the cart before the horse, scratch
where he did not itch, shoe the grasshopper, tickle himself to make
himself laugh, know flies in milk, scrape paper, blur parchment, then
run away, pull at the kid's leather, reckon without his host, beat the
bushes without catching the birds, and thought that bladders were
lanterns. He always looked a gift-horse in the mouth, hoped to catch
larks if ever the heavens should fall, and made a virtue of necessity.
Every morning his father's puppies ate out of the dish with him, and
he with them. He would bite their ears, and they would scratch his
nose. The good man Grangousier said to Gargantua's governesses:

[Footnote 12: From Book I, Chapter XI, of "The Inestimable Life of the
Great Gargantua, Father of Pantagruel." The basis of all English
translations of Rabelais is the work begun by Sir Thomas Urquhart and
completed by Peter A. Motteux. Urquhart was a Scotchman, who was born
in 1611 and died in 1660. Motteux was a Frenchman, who settled in
England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and was the
author of several plays. This translation has been called "one of the
most perfect that ever man accomplished." Other and later versions
have usually been based on Urquhart and Motteux, but have been
expurgated, as is the case with the passages given here. An earlier
version of "Pantagruel," published in London in 1620, was ascribed to
"Democritus Pseudomantio."

Rabelais, by common, consent, has a place among the greatest prose
writers of the world. In his knowledge of human nature and his
literary excellence, he is often ranked as inferior only to
Shakespeare. As an exponent of the sentiments and atmosphere of his
own time, we find in him what is found only in a few of the world's
greatest writers. That he has not been more widely read in modern
times, is attributed chiefly to the extraordinary coarseness of
language which he constantly introduces into his pages. This
coarseness is, in fact, so pervasive that expurgation is made
extremely difficult to any one who would preserve some fair remnant of
the original.]

"Philip, King of Macedon, knew the wit of his son Alexander, by his
skilful managing of a horse;[13] for the said horse was so fierce and
unruly that none durst adventure to ride him, because he gave a fall
to all his riders, breaking the neck of this man, the leg of that, the
brain of one, and the jawbone of another. This by Alexander being
considered, one day in the hippodrome (which was a place appointed for
the walking and running of horses), he perceived that the fury of the
horse proceeded merely from the fear he had of his own shadow;
whereupon, getting on his back he ran him against the sun, so that the
shadow fell behind, and by that means tamed the horse and brought him
to his hand. Whereby his father recognized the divine judgment that
was in him, and caused him most carefully to be instructed by
Aristotle, who at that time was highly renowned above all the
philosophers of Greece. After the same manner I tell you, that as
regards my son Gargantua, I know that his understanding doth
participate of some divinity,--so keen, subtle, profound, and clear do
I find him; and if he be well taught, he will attain to a sovereign
degree of wisdom. Therefore will I commit him to some learned man, to
have him indoctrinated according to his capacity, and will spare no

[Footnote 13: The famous horse Bucephalus is here referred to.]

Whereupon they appointed him a great sophister-doctor, called Maître
Tubal Holophernes, who taught him his A B C so well that he could say
it by heart backward; and about this he was five years and three
months. Then read he to him Donat, Facet, Theodolet, and Alanus _in
parabolis_. About this he was thirteen years, six months, and two
weeks. But you must remark that in the mean time he did learn to write
in Gothic characters, and that he wrote all his books,--for the art of
printing was not then in use. After that he read unto him the book "De
Modis Significandi," with the commentaries of Hurtebise, of Fasquin,
of Tropditeux, of Gaulehaut, of John le Veau, of Billonio, of
Brelingandus, and a rabble of others; and herein he spent more than
eighteen years and eleven months, and was so well versed in it that at
the examination he would recite it by heart backward, and did
sometimes prove on his fingers to his mother _quod de modis
significandi non erat scientia_. Then did he read to him the
"Compost," on which he spent sixteen years and two months, and that
justly at the time his said preceptor died, which was in the year one
thousand four hundred and twenty.

Afterward he got another old fellow with a cough to teach him, named
Maître Jobelin Bridé, who read unto him Hugutio, Hebrard's "Grécisme,"
the "Doctrinal," the "Parts," the "Quid Est," the "Supplementum";
Marmoquet "De Moribus in Mensa Servandis"; Seneca "De Quatour
Virtutibus Cardinalibus"; Passavantus "Cum Commento" and "Dormi
Securé," for the holidays; and some other of such-like stuff, by
reading whereof he became as wise as any we have ever baked in an

At the last his father perceived that indeed he studied hard, and that
altho he spent all his time in it, he did nevertheless profit
nothing, but which is worse, grew thereby foolish, simple, doted, and
blockish: whereof making a heavy regret to Don Philip des Marays,
Viceroy of Papeligose, he found that it were better for him to learn
nothing at all than to be taught such-like books under such
schoolmasters; because their knowledge was nothing but brutishness,
and their wisdom but toys, bastardizing good and noble spirits and
corrupting the flower of youth. "That it is so, take," said he, "any
young boy of the present time, who hath only studied two years: if he
have not a better judgment, a better discourse, and that exprest in
better terms, than your son, with a completer carriage and civility to
all manner of persons, account me forever a chawbacon of La Brène."

This pleased Grangousier very well, and he commanded that it should be
done. At night at supper, the said Des Marays brought in a young page
of his from Ville-gouges, called Eudemon, so well combed, so well
drest, so well brushed, so sweet in his behavior, that he resembled a
little angel more than a human creature. Then he said to Grangousier,
"Do you see this child? He is not as yet full twelve years old. Let us
try, if it pleaseth you, what difference there is betwixt the
knowledge of the doting dreamers of old time and the young lads that
are now."

The trial pleased Grangousier, and he commanded the page to begin.
Then Eudemon, asking leave of the viceroy, his master, so to do, with
his cap in his hand, a clear and open countenance, ruddy lips, his
eyes steady, and his looks fixt upon Gargantua, with a youthful
modesty, stood up straight on his feet and began to commend and
magnify him, first, for his virtue and good manners; secondly, for his
knowledge; thirdly, for his nobility; fourthly, for his bodily beauty;
and in the fifth place, sweetly exhorted him to reverence his father
with all observancy, who was so careful to have him well brought up.
In the end he prayed him that he would vouchsafe to admit of him
amongst the least of his servants; for other favor at that time
desired he none of heaven but that he might do him some grateful and
acceptable service.

All this was by him delivered with gestures so proper, pronunciation
so distinct, a voice so eloquent, language so well turned, and in such
good Latin, that he seemed rather a Gracchus, a Cicero, an Æmilius of
the time past than a youth of his age. But all the countenance that
Gargantua kept was that he fell to crying like a cow, and cast down
his face, hiding it with his cap; nor could they possibly draw one
word from him. Whereat his father was so grievously vexed that he
would have killed Maître Jobelin; but the said Des Marays withheld him
from it by fair persuasions, so that at length he pacified his wrath.
The Grangousier commanded he should be paid his wages, that they
should make him drink theologically, after which he was to go to all
the devils. "At least," said he, "to-day shall it not cost his host
much, if by chance he should die as drunk as an Englishman."



Maître Jobelin being gone out of the house, Grangousier consulted with
the viceroy what tutor they should choose for Gargantua; and it was
betwixt them resolved that Ponocrates, the tutor of Eudemon, should
have the charge, and that they should all go together to Paris to know
what was the study of the young men of France at that time....

[Footnote 14: From Book I of "The Inestimable Life of the Great
Gargantua, Father of Pantagruel." The Urquhart-Motteux translation.]

Ponocrates appointed that for the beginning he should do as he had
been accustomed; to the end he might understand by what means, for so
long a time, his old masters had made him so foolish, simple, and
ignorant. He disposed, therefore, of his time in such fashion that
ordinarily he did awake between eight and nine o'clock, whether it was
day or not; for so had his ancient governors ordained, alleging that
which David saith, _Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere_. Then did he
tumble and wallow in the bed some time, the better to stir up his
vital spirits, and appareled himself according to the season; but
willingly he would wear a great long gown of thick frieze, lined with
fox fur. Afterward he combed his head with the German comb, which is
the four fingers and the thumb; for his preceptors said that to comb
himself otherwise, to wash and make himself neat was to lose time in
this world. Then to suppress the dew and bad air, he breakfasted on
fair fried tripe, fair grilled meats, fair hams, fair hashed capon,
and store of sipped brewis.

Ponocrates showed him that he ought not to eat so soon after rising
out of his bed, unless he had performed some exercise beforehand.
Gargantua answered: "What! have not I sufficiently well exercised
myself? I rolled myself six or seven turns in my bed before I rose. Is
not that enough? Pope Alexander did so, by the advice of a Jew, his
physician; and lived till his dying day in despite of the envious. My
first masters have used me to it, saying that breakfast makes a good
memory; wherefore they drank first. I am very well after it, and dine
but the better. And Maître Tubal, who was the first licentiate at
Paris, told me that it is not everything to run a pace, but to set
forth well betimes: so doth not the total welfare of our humanity
depend upon perpetual drinking _atas_, _atas_, like ducks, but on
drinking well in the morning; whence the verse----

    "'To rise betimes is no good hour,
    To drink betimes is better sure.'"

After he had thoroughly broken his fast, he went to church; and they
carried for him, in a great basket, a huge breviary. There he heard
six-and-twenty or thirty masses. This while, to the same place came
his sayer of hours, lapped up about the chin like a tufted whoop, and
his breath perfumed with good store of sirup. With him he mumbled all
his kyriels, which he so curiously picked that there fell not so much
as one grain to the ground. As he went from the church, they brought
him, upon a dray drawn by oxen, a heap of paternosters of Sanct
Claude, every one of them being of the bigness of a hat-block; and
thus walking through the cloisters, galleries, or garden, he said more
in turning them over than sixteen hermits would have done. Then did he
study for some paltry half-hour with his eyes fixt upon his book; but
as the comic saith, his mind was in the kitchen. Then he sat down at
table; and because he was naturally phlegmatic, he began his meal with
some dozens of hams, dried meats' tongues, mullet's roe, chitterlings,
and such other forerunners of wine.

In the meanwhile, four of his folks did cast into his mouth, one after
another continually, mustard by whole shovelfuls. Immediately after
that he drank a horrific draft of white wine for the ease of his
kidneys. When that was done, he ate according to the season meat
agreeable to his appetite, and then left off eating when he was like
to crack for fulness. As for his drinking, he had neither end nor
rule. For he was wont to say, that the limits and bounds of drinking
were when the cork of the shoes of him that drinketh swelleth up half
a foot high.

Then heavily mumbling a scurvy grace, he washed his hands in fresh
wine, picked his teeth with the foot of a pig, and talked jovially
with his attendants. Then the carpet being spread, they brought great
store of cards, dice, and chessboards.

After having well played, reveled, passed and spent his time, it was
proper to drink a little, and that was eleven goblets the man; and
immediately after making good cheer again, he would stretch himself
upon a fair bench, or a good large bed, and there sleep two or three
hours together without thinking or speaking any hurt. After he was
awakened he would shake his ears a little. In the mean time they
brought him fresh wine. Then he drank better than ever. Ponocrates
showed him that it was an ill diet to drink so after sleeping. "It
is," answered Gargantua, "the very life of the Fathers; for naturally
I sleep salt, and my sleep hath been to me instead of so much ham."

Then began he to study a little, and the paternosters first, which the
better and more formally to dispatch, he got up on an old mule which
had served nine kings; and so mumbling with his mouth, doddling his
head, would go see a coney caught in a net. At his return he went into
the kitchen to know what roast meat was on the spit; and supped very
well, upon my conscience, and commonly did invite some of his
neighbors that were good drinkers; with whom carousing, they told
stories of all sorts, from the old to the new. After supper were
brought in upon the place the fair wooden gospels--that is to say,
many pairs of tables and cards--with little small banquets, intermined
with collations and reer-suppers. Then did he sleep without unbridling
until eight o'clock in the next morning.

When Ponocrates knew Gargantua's vicious manner of living, he resolved
to bring him up in another kind; but for a while he bore with him,
considering that nature does not endure sudden changes without great
violence. Therefore, to begin his work the better, he requested a
learned physician of that time, called Maître Theodorus, seriously to
perpend, if it were possible, how to bring Gargantua unto a better
course. The said physician purged him canonically with Anticyran
hellebore, by which medicine he cleansed all the alteration and
perverse habitude of his brain. By this means also Ponocrates made him
forget all that he had learned under his ancient preceptors. To do
this better, they brought him into the company of learned men who were
there, in emulation of whom a great desire and affection came to him
to study otherwise, and to improve his parts. Afterward he put himself
into such a train of study that he lost not any hour in the day, but
employed all his time in learning and honest knowledge. Gargantua
awaked then about four o'clock in the morning.

While they were rubbing him, there was read unto him some chapter of
the Holy Scripture aloud and clearly, with a pronunciation fit for the
matter; and hereunto was appointed a young page born in Basché, named
Anagnostes. According to the purpose and argument of that lesson, he
oftentimes gave himself to revere, adore, pray, and send up his
supplications to what good God whose word did show His majesty and
marvelous judgments. Then his master repeated what had been read,
expounding unto him the most obscure and difficult points. They then
considered the face of the sky, if it was such as they had observed it
the night before, and into what signs the sun was entering, as also
the moon for that day. This done, he was appareled, combed, curled,
trimmed, and perfumed, during which time they repeated to him the
lessons of the day before. He himself said them by heart, and upon
them grounded practical cases concerning the estate of man; which he
would prosecute sometimes two or three hours, but ordinarily they
ceased as soon as he was fully clothed. Then for three good hours
there was reading. This done, they went forth, still conferring of the
substance of the reading, and disported themselves at ball, tennis, or
the _pile trigone_; gallantly exercising their bodies, as before they
had done their minds. All their play was but in liberty, for they left
off when they pleased; and that was commonly when they did sweat, or
were otherwise weary. Then were they very well dried and rubbed,
shifted their shirts, and walking soberly, went to see if dinner was
ready. While they stayed for that, they did clearly and eloquently
recite some sentences that they had retained of the lecture.

In the mean time Master Appetite came, and then very orderly sat they
down at table. At the beginning of the meal there was read some
pleasant history of ancient prowess, until he had taken his wine. Then
if they thought good, they continued reading, or began to discourse
merrily together; speaking first of the virtue, propriety, efficacy,
and nature of all that was served in at that table; of bread, of wine,
of water, of salt, of flesh, fish, fruits, herbs, roots, and of their
dressing. By means whereof, he learned in a little time all the
passages that on these subject are to be found in Pliny, Athenæus,
Dioscorides, Julius Pollux, Gallen, Porphyrius, Oppian, Polybius,
Heliodorus, Aristotle, Ælian, and others. While they talked of these
things, many times, to be more the certain, they caused the very books
to be brought to the table; and so well and perfectly did he in his
memory retain the things above said, that in that time there was not a
physician that knew half so much as he did. Afterward they conferred
of the lessons read in the morning; and ending their repast with some
conserve of quince, he washed his hands and eyes with fair fresh
water, and gave thanks unto God in some fine canticle, made in praise
of the divine bounty and munificence.

This done, they brought in cards, not to play, but to learn a thousand
pretty tricks and new inventions, which were all grounded upon
arithmetic. By this means he fell in love with that numerical science;
and every day after dinner and supper he passed his time in it as
pleasantly as he was wont to do at cards and dice: so that at last he
understood so well both the theory and practise thereof, that Tonstal
the Englishman, who had written very largely of that purpose, confest
that verily in comparison of him he understood nothing but double
Dutch; and not only in that, but in the other mathematical sciences,
as geometry, astronomy, music. For while waiting for the digestion of
his food, they made a thousand joyous instruments and geometrical
figures, and at the same time practised the astronomical canons.

After this they recreated themselves with singing musically, in four
or five parts, or upon a set theme, as it best pleased them. In matter
of musical instruments, he learned to play the lute, the spinet, the
harp, the German flute, the flute with nine holes, the violin, and the
sackbut. This hour thus spent, he betook himself to his principal
study for three hours together, or more, as well to repeat his
matutinal lectures as to proceed in the book wherein he was; as also
to write handsomely, to draw and form the antique and Roman letters.
This being done, they went out of their house, and with them a young
gentleman of Touraine, named Gymnast, who taught him the art of

Changing then his clothes, he mounted on any kind of a horse, which he
made to bound in the air, to jump the ditch, to leap the palisade, and
to turn short in a ring both to the right and left hand. There he
broke not his lance; for it is the greatest foolishness in the world
to say, I have broken ten lances at tilts or in fight. A carpenter can
do even as much. But it is a glorious and praiseworthy action with one
lance to break and overthrow ten enemies. Therefore with a sharp,
strong, and stiff lance would he usually force a door, pierce a
harness, uproot a tree, carry away the ring, lift up a saddle, with
the mail-coat and gantlet. All this he did in complete arms from head
to foot. He was singularly skilful in leaping nimbly from one horse to
another without putting foot to ground. He could likewise from either
side, with a lance in his hand, leap on horseback without stirrups,
and rule the horse at his pleasure without a bridle; for such things
are useful in military engagements. Another day he exercised the
battle-ax, which he so dextrously wielded that he was passed knight of
arms in the field.

Then tossed he the pike, played with the two-handed sword, with the
back sword, with the Spanish tuck, the dagger, poniard, armed,
unarmed, with a buckler, with a cloak, with a target. Then would he
hunt the hart, the roebuck, the bear, the fallow deer, the wild boar,
the hare, the pheasant, the partridge, and the bustard. He played at
the great ball, and made it bound in the air, both with fist and foot.
He wrestled, ran, jumped, not at three steps and a leap, nor a
hopping, nor yet at the German jump; "for," said Gymnast, "these jumps
are for the wars altogether unprofitable, and of no use": but at one
leap he would skip over a ditch, spring over a hedge, mount six paces
upon a wall, climb after this fashion up against a window, the height
of a lance.

He did swim in deep waters on his face, on his back, sidewise, with
all his body, with his feet only, with one hand in the air, wherein he
held a book, crossing thus the breadth of the river Seine without
wetting, and dragging along his cloak with his teeth, as did Julius
Cæsar; then with the help of one hand he entered forcibly into a boat,
from whence he cast himself again headlong into the water, sounded the
depths, hollowed the rocks, and plunged into the pits and gulfs. Then
turned he the boat about, governed it, led it swiftly or slowly with
the stream and against the stream, stopt it in its course, guided it
with one hand, and with the other laid hard about him with a huge
great oar, hoisted the sail, hied up along the mast by the shrouds,
ran upon the bulwarks, set the compass, tackled the bowlines, and
steered the helm. Coming out of the water, he ran furiously up
against a hill, and with the same alacrity and swiftness ran down
again. He climbed up trees like a cat, leaped from the one to the
other like a squirrel. He did pull down the great boughs and branches,
like another Milo: then with two sharp well-steeled daggers, and two
tried bodkins, would he run up by the wall to the very top of a house
like a rat; then suddenly come down from the top to the bottom, with
such an even disposal of members that by the fall he would catch no

He did cast the dart, throw the bar, put the stone, practise the
javelin, the boar-spear or partizan, and the halbert. He broke the
strongest bows in drawing, bended against his breast the greatest
cross-bows of steel, took his aim by the eye with the hand-gun,
traversed the cannon; shot at the butts, at the pape-gay, before him,
sidewise, and behind him, like the Parthians. They tied a cable-rope
to the top of a high tower, by one end whereof hanging near the ground
he wrought himself with his hands to the very top; then came down
again so sturdily and firmly that you could not on a plain meadow have
run with more assurance. They set up a great pole fixt upon two trees.
There would he hang by his hands, and with them alone, his feet
touching at nothing, would go back and fore along the aforesaid rope
with so great swiftness, that hardly could one overtake him with



There was left only the monk to provide for; whom Gargantua would have
made Abbot of Seuillé, but he refused it. He would have given him the
Abbey of Bourgueil, or of Sanct Florent, which was better, or both if
it pleased him; but the monk gave him a very peremptory answer, that
he would never take upon him the charge nor government of monks. "For
how shall I be able," said he, "to rule over others, that have not
full power and command of myself? If you think I have done you, or may
hereafter do you any acceptable service, give me leave to found an
abbey after my own mind and fancy." The motion pleased Gargantua very
well; who thereupon offered him all the country of Thelema by the
river Loire, till within two leagues of the great forest of
Port-Huaut. The monk then requested Gargantua to institute his
religious order contrary to all others.

[Footnote 15: From Book I of "The Inestimable Life of the Great
Gargantua, Father of Pantagruel." The Urquhart-Motteux translation.]

"First, then," said Gargantua, "you must not build a wall about your
convent, for all other abbeys are strongly walled and mured about."

Moreover, seeing there are certain convents in the world whereof the
custom is, if any women come in--I mean honorable and honest
women--they immediately sweep the ground which they have trod upon;
therefore was it ordained that if any man or woman, entered into
religious orders, should by chance come within this new abbey, all the
rooms should be thoroughly washed and cleansed through which they had

And because in other monasteries all is compassed, limited, and
regulated by hours, it was decreed that in this new structure there
should, be neither clock nor dial, but that according to the
opportunities, and incident occasions, all their works should be
disposed of; "for," said Gargantua, "the greatest loss of time that I
know is to count the hours. What good comes of it? Nor can there be
any greater folly in the world than for one to guide and direct his
courses by the sound of a bell, and not by his own judgment and

_Item_, Because at that time they put no women into nunneries but such
as were either one-eyed, lame, humpbacked, ill-favored, misshapen,
foolish, senseless, spoiled, or corrupt; nor encloistered any men but
those that were either sickly, ill-bred, clownish, and the trouble of
the house:

("Apropos," said the monk--"a woman that is neither fair nor good, to
what use serves she?" "To make a nun of," said Gargantua. "Yes," said
the monk, "and to make shirts.")

Therefore, Gargantua said, was it ordained, that into this religious
order should be admitted no women that were not fair, well-featured,
and of a sweet disposition; nor men that were not comely, personable,
and also of a sweet disposition.

_Item_, Because in the convents of women men come not but underhand,
privily, and by stealth? it was therefore enacted that in this house
there shall be no women in case there be not men, nor men in case
there be not women.

_Item_, Because both men and women that are received into religious
orders after the year of their novitiates were constrained and forced
perpetually to stay there all the days of their life: it was ordered
that all of whatever kind, men or women, admitted within this abbey,
should have full leave to depart with peace and contentment whensoever
it should seem good to them so to do.

_Item_, For that the religious men and women did ordinarily make three
vows--to wit, those of chastity, poverty, and obedience: it was
therefore constituted and appointed that in this convent they might be
honorably married, that they might be rich, and live at liberty. In
regard to the legitimate age, the women were to be admitted from ten
till fifteen, and the men from twelve till eighteen.

For the fabric and furniture of the abbey, Gargantua caused to be
delivered out in ready money twenty-seven hundred thousand eight
hundred and one-and-thirty of those long-wooled rams; and for every
year until the whole work was completed he allotted threescore nine
thousand gold crowns, and as many of the seven stars, to be charged
all upon the receipt of the river Dive. For the foundation and
maintenance thereof he settled in perpetuity three-and-twenty hundred
threescore and nine thousand five hundred and fourteen rose nobles,
taxes exempted from all in landed rents, and payable every year at the
gate of the abbey; and for this gave them fair letters patent.

The building was hexagonal, and in such a fashion that in every one of
the six corners there was built a great round tower, sixty paces in
diameter, and were all of a like form and bigness. Upon the north side
ran the river Loire, on the bank whereof was situated the tower called
Arctic. Going toward the east there was another called Calær, the next
following Anatole, the next Mesembrine, the next Hesperia, and the
last Criere. Between each two towers was the space of three hundred
and twelve paces. The whole edifice was built in six stories,
reckoning the cellars underground for one. The second was vaulted
after the fashion of a basket-handle; the rest were coated with
Flanders plaster, in the form of a lamp foot. It was roofed with fine
slates of lead, carrying figures of baskets and animals; the ridge
gilt, together with the gutters, which issued without the wall between
the windows, painted diagonally in gold and blue down to the ground,
where they ended in great canals, which carried away the water below
the house into the river.

This same building was a hundred times more sumptuous and magnificent
than ever was Bonivet; for there were in it nine thousand three
hundred and two-and-thirty chambers, every one whereof had a
withdrawing-room, a closet, a wardrobe, a chapel, and a passage into a
great hall. Between every tower, in the midst of the said body of
building, there was a winding stair, whereof the steps were part of
porphyry, which is a dark-red marble spotted with white, part of
Numidian stone, and part of serpentine marble; each of those steps
being two-and-twenty feet in length and three fingers thick, and the
just number of twelve betwixt every landing-place. On every landing
were two fair antique arcades where the light came in; and by those
they went into a cabinet, made even with, and of the breadth of the
said winding, and they mounted above the roof and ended in a pavilion.
By this winding they entered on every side into a great hall, and from
the halls into the chambers. From the Arctic tower unto the Criere
were fair great libraries in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Italian,
and Spanish, respectively distributed on different stories, according
to their languages. In the midst there was a wonderful winding stair,
the entry whereof was without the house, in an arch six fathoms broad.
It was made in such symmetry and largeness that six men-at-arms, lance
on thigh, might ride abreast all up to the very top of all the palace.
From the tower Anatole to the Mesembrine were fair great galleries,
all painted with the ancient prowess, histories, and descriptions of
the world. In the midst thereof there was likewise such another ascent
and gate as we said there was on the river-side.

In the middle of the lower court there was a stately fountain of fair
alabaster. Upon the top thereof stood the three Graces, with horns of
abundance, and did jet out the water at their breasts, mouth, ears,
and eyes. The inside of the buildings in this lower court stood upon
great pillars of Cassydonian stone, and porphyry in fair ancient
arches. Within these were spacious galleries, long and large, adorned
with curious pictures--the horns of bucks and unicorns; of the
rhinoceros and the hippopotamus; the teeth and tusks of elephants, and
other things well worth the beholding. The lodging of the ladies took
up all from the tower Arctic unto the gate Mesembrine. The men possest
the rest. Before the said lodging of the ladies, that they might have
their recreation, between the two first towers, on the outside, were
placed the tilt-yard, the hippodrome, the theater, the swimming-bath,
with most admirable baths in three stages, well furnished with all
necessary accommodation, and store of myrtle-water. By the river-side
was the fair garden of pleasure, and in the midst of that a fair
labyrinth. Between the two other towers were the tennis and fives
courts. Toward the tower Criere stood the orchard full of all
fruit-trees, set and ranged in a quincunx. At the end of that was the
great park, abounding with all sort of game. Betwixt the third couple
of towers were the butts for arquebus, crossbow, and arbalist. The
stables were beyond the offices, and before them stood the falconry,
managed by falconers very expert in the art; and it was yearly
supplied by the Candians, Venetians, Sarmatians, with all sorts of
excellent birds, eagles, gerfalcons, goshawks, falcons, sparrow-hawks,
merlins, and other kinds of them, so gentle and perfectly well trained
that, flying from the castle for their own disport, they would not
fail to catch whatever they encountered. The venery was a little
further off, drawing toward the park.

All the halls, chambers, and cabinets were hung with tapestry of
divers sorts, according to the seasons of the year. All the pavements
were covered with green cloth. The beds were embroidered. In every
back chamber there was a looking-glass of pure crystal, set in a frame
of fine gold garnished with pearls, and of such greatness that it
would represent to the full the whole person. At the going out of the
halls belonging to the ladies' lodgings were the perfumers and
hair-dressers, through whose hands the gallants passed when they were
to visit the ladies. These did every morning furnish the ladies'
chambers with rose-water, musk, and angelica; and to each of them gave
a little smelling-bottle breathing the choicest aromatical scents.

The ladies on the foundation of this order were appareled after their
own pleasure and liking. But since, of their own free will, they were
reformed in manner as followeth:

They wore stockings of scarlet which reached just three inches above
the knee, having the border beautified with embroideries and trimming.
Their garters were of the color of their bracelets, and circled the
knee both over and under. Their shoes and slippers were either of red,
violet, or crimson velvet, cut _à barbe d'écrévisse_.

Next to their smock they put on a fair corset of pure silk camblet;
above that went the petticoat of white, red tawny, or gray taffeta.
Above this was the _cotte_ in cloth of silver, with needlework either
(according to the temperature and disposition of the weather) of
satin, damask, velvet, orange, tawny, green, ash-colored, blue,
yellow, crimson, cloth of gold, cloth of silver, or some other choice
stuff, according to the day.

Their gowns, correspondent to the season, were either of cloth of gold
with silver edging, of red satin covered with gold purl, of taffeta,
white, blue, black, or tawny, of silk serge, silk camblet, velvet,
cloth of silver, silver tissue, cloth of gold, or figured satin with
golden threads.

In the summer, some days, instead of gowns, they wore fair mantles of
the above-named stuff, or capes of violet velvet with edging of gold,
or with knotted cordwork of gold embroidery, garnished with little
Indian pearls. They always carried a fair plume of feathers, of the
color of their muff, bravely adorned with spangles of gold. In the
winter-time they had their taffeta gowns of all colors, as above
named, and those lined with the rich furrings of wolves, weasels,
Calabrian martlet, sables, and other costly furs. Their beads, rings,
bracelets, and collars were of precious stones, such as carbuncles,
rubies, diamonds, sapphires, emerald, turquoises, garnets, agates,
beryls, and pearls.

Their head-dressing varied with the season of the year. In winter it
was of the French fashion; in the spring of the Spanish; in summer of
the fashion of Tuscany, except only upon the holidays and Sundays, at
which times they were accoutered in the French mode, because they
accounted it more honorable, better befitting the modesty of a matron.

The men were appareled after their fashion. Their stockings were of
worsted or of serge, of white, black, or scarlet. Their breeches were
of velvet, of the same color with their stockings, or very near,
embroidered and cut according to their fancy. Their doublet was of
cloth of gold, cloth of silver, velvet, satin, damask, or taffeta, of
the same colors, cut embroidered, and trimmed up in the same manner.
The points were of silk of the same colors, the tags were of gold
enameled. Their coats and jerkins were of cloth of gold, cloth of
silver, gold tissue, or velvet embroidered, as they thought fit. Their
gowns were every whit as costly as those of the ladies. Their girdles
were of silk, of the color of their doublets. Every one had a gallant
sword by his side, the hilt and handle whereof were gilt, and the
scabbard of velvet, of the color of his breeches, the end in gold, and
goldsmith's work. The dagger of the same. Their caps were of black
velvet, adorned with jewels and buttons of gold. Upon that they wore a
white plume, most prettily and minion-like parted by so many rows of
gold spangles, at the end whereof hung dangling fair rubies, emeralds,

But so great was the sympathy between the gallants and the ladies,
that every day they were appareled in the same livery. And that they
might not miss, there were certain gentlemen appointed to tell the
youths every morning what colors the ladies would on that day wear;
for all was done according to the pleasure of the ladies. In these so
handsome clothes, and habiliments so rich, think not that either one
or other of either sex did waste any time at all; for the masters of
the wardrobes had all their raiments and apparel so ready for every
morning, and the chamber-ladies were so well skilled, that in a trice
they would be drest, and completely in their clothes from head to
foot. And to have these accouterments with the more conveniency, there
was about the wood of Thelema a row of houses half a league long, very
neat and cleanly, wherein dwelt the goldsmiths, lapidaries,
embroiderers, tailors, gold-drawers, velvet-weavers, tapestry-makers,
and upholsterers, who wrought there every one in his own trade, and
all for the aforesaid friars and nuns. They were furnished with matter
and stuff from the hands of Lord Nausiclete, who every year brought
them seven ships from the Perlas and Cannibal Islands, laden with
ingots of gold, with raw silk, with pearls and precious stones. And if
any pearls began to grow old, and lose somewhat of their natural
whiteness and luster, those by their art they did renew by tendering
them to cocks to be eaten, as they used to give casting unto hawks.

All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but
according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their
beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labor, sleep, when
they had a mind to it, and were disposed for it. None did awake them,
none did constrain them to eat, drink, nor do any other thing; for so
had Gargantua established it. In all their rule, and strictest tie of
their order, there was but this one clause to be observed: _Fay ce que

Because men that are free, well born, well bred, and conversant in
honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth
them unto virtuous actions and withdraws them from vice, which is
called honor. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint
they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble
disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake
off the bond of servitude; for it is agreeable with the nature of man
to long after things forbidden.


     Born in France in 1509, died in Geneva in 1564; studied in
     Paris and Orleans; became identified with the Reformation
     about 1528; banished from Paris in 1533; published his
     "Institutes," his most famous work, in Latin at Basel in
     1536, and in French in 1540; settled at Geneva in 1536;
     banished from Geneva in 1538; returned to Geneva in 1541;
     had a memorable controversy with Servetus in 1553; founded
     the Academy of Geneva in 1559.


God has provided the soul of man with intellect, by which he might
discern good from evil, just from unjust, and might know what to
follow or to shun, Reason going before with her lamp; whence
philosophers, in reference to her directing power have called [Greek:
to hêgemonichon]. To this he has joined will, to which choice belongs.
Man excelled in these noble endowments in his primitive condition,
when reason, intelligence, prudence, and judgment not only sufficed
for the government of his earthly life, but also enabled him to rise
up to God and eternal happiness. Thereafter choice was added to direct
the appetites and temper all the organic motions; the will being thus
perfectly submissive to the authority of reason.

[Footnote 16: From "The Institutes." Calvin's work was translated into
English by Thomas Norton and published in 1561. An abridgment,
translated by Christopher Fetherstone, was published in Edinburgh in
1585, and another abridgment by H. Holland in London in 1596. Many
other translations of Calvin's writings appeared in the sixteenth
century. John Allen issued a version of the "Institutes" in 1830,
which has been held in esteem.]

In this upright state, man possest freedom of will, by which if he
chose he was able to obtain eternal life.

It were here unseasonable to introduce the question concerning the
secret predestination of God, because we are not considering what
might or might not happen, but what the nature of man truly was. Adam,
therefore, might have stood if he chose, since it was only by his own
will that he fell; but it was because his will was pliable in either
direction, and he had not received constancy to persevere, that he so
easily fell. Still he had a free choice of good and evil; and not only
so, but in the mind and will there was the highest rectitude, and all
the organic parts were duly framed to obedience, until man corrupted
its good properties, and destroyed himself. Hence the great darkness
of philosophers who have looked for a complete building in a ruin, and
fit arrangement in disorder. The principle they set out with was, that
man could not be a rational animal unless he had a free choice of good
and evil. They also imagined that the distinction between virtue and
vice was destroyed, if man did not of his own counsel arrange his
life. So far well, had there been no change in man. This being unknown
to them, it is not surprizing that they throw everything into
confusion. But those who, while they profess to be the disciples of
Christ, still seek for free-will in man, notwithstanding of his being
lost and drowned in spiritual destruction, labor under manifold
delusion, making a heterogeneous mixture of inspired doctrine and
philosophical opinions, and so erring as to both.

But it will be better to leave these things to their own place. At
present it is necessary only to remember that man at his first
creation was very different from all his posterity; who, deriving
their origin from him after he was corrupted, received a hereditary
taint. At first every part of the soul was formed to rectitude. There
was soundness of mind and freedom of will to choose the good. If any
one objects that it was placed, as it were, in a slippery position
because its power was weak, I answer, that the degree conferred was
sufficient to take away every excuse. For surely the Deity could not
be tied down to this condition,--to make man such that he either could
not or would not sin. Such a nature might have been more excellent;
but to expostulate with God as if he had been bound to confer this
nature on man, is more than unjust, seeing he had full right to
determine how much or how little he would give. Why he did not sustain
him by the virtue of perseverance is hidden in his counsel; it is ours
to keep within the bounds of soberness. Man had received the power, if
he had the will, but he had not the will which would have given the
power; for this will would have been followed by perseverance. Still,
after he had received so much, there is no excuse for his having
spontaneously brought death upon himself. No necessity was laid upon
God to give him more than that intermediate and even transient will,
that out of man's fall he might extract materials for his own glory.


     Born about 1524, died in 1560; surnamed "The French Ovid"
     and "The Apollo of the Pléiade"; noted as poet and prose
     writer; a cousin of Cardinal du Bellay and for a time his
     secretary; wrote forty-seven sonnets on the antiquities of
     Rome; his most notable work in prose is his "Défense et
     Illustration de la Langue Françoise."


If our language is not as copious or rich as the Greek or Latin, this
must not be laid to their charge, assuming that our language is not
capable in itself of being barren and sterile; but it should rather be
attributed to the ignorance of our ancestors, who, having (as some one
says, speaking of the ancient Romans) held good doing in greater
estimation than good talking and preferred to leave to their posterity
examples of virtue rather than precepts, have deprived themselves of
the glory of their great deeds, and us of their imitation; and by the
same means have left our tongue so poor and bare that it has need of
ornament and (if we may be allowed the phrase) of borrowed plumage.

[Footnote 17: From the "Défence et Illustration de la Langue
Françoise." Translated for this collection by Eric Arthur Bell. Du
Bellay belonged to a group of sixteenth-century writers known as the
Pléiade, who took upon themselves the mission of reducing the French
language, in its literary forms, to something comparable to Greek and
Latin. Mr. Saintsbury says they "made modern French--made it, we may
say, twice over"; by which he means that French, in their time, was
revolutionized, and that, in the Romantic movement of 1830, Hugo and
his associates were armed by the work of the Pléiade for their revolt
against the restraints of rule and language that had been imposed by
the eighteenth century.]

But who is willing to admit that the Greek and Roman tongues have
always possest that excellence which characterized them at the time of
Homer, Demosthenes, Virgil, and Cicero? And if these authors were of
the opinion that a little diligence and culture were incapable of
producing greater fruit, why did they make such efforts to bring it to
the pitch of perfection it is in to-day? I can say the same thing of
our language, which is now beginning to bloom without bearing fruit,
like a plant which has not yet flowered, waiting till it can produce
all the fruit possible. This is certainly not the fault of nature who
has rendered it more sterile than the others, but the fault of those
who have tended it, and have not cultivated it sufficiently. Like a
wild plant which grows in the desert, without ever being watered or
pruned or protected by the trees and shrubs which give it shade, it
fades and almost dies.

If the ancient Romans had been so negligent of the culture of their
language when first they began to develop it, it is certain that they
could not have become so great in so short a time. But they, in the
guise of good agriculturists, first of all transplanted it from a wild
locality to a cultivated one, and then in order that it might bear
fruit earlier and better, cut away several useless shoots and
substituted exotic and domestic ones, mostly drawn from the Greek
language, which have grafted so well on to the trunk that they appear
no longer adopted but natural. Out of these have sprung, from the
Latin tongue, flowers and colored fruits in great number and of much
eloquence, all of which things, not so much from its own nature but
artificially, every tongue is wont to produce. And if the Greeks and
Romans, more diligent in the culture of their tongue than we are in
ours, found an eloquence in their language only after much labor and
industry, are we for this reason, even if our vernacular is not as
rich as it might be, to condemn it as something vile and of little

The time will come perhaps, and I hope it will be for the good of the
French, when the language of this noble and powerful kingdom (unless
with France the whole French language is to be buried),[18] which is
already beginning to throw out its roots, will shoot out of the ground
and rise to such a height and size that it will even emulate that of
the Greeks and the Romans, producing like them, Homers, Demostheneses,
Virgils, and Ciceros, in the same way that France has already produced
her Pericles, Alcibiades, Themistocles, and Scipio.

[Footnote 18: Du Bellay here refers to the unhappy political state of
France during his short life of thirty-six years. He was born one year
before the defeat of Francis I at Pavia. When twenty years old, Henry
VIII in league with Charles V had invaded France. Fourteen years later
the country was distracted by disastrous religious wars which led up
to the massacre of St. Bartholomew a few years after his death.]


     Born in France in 1583, died in 1592; educated at a college
     in Bordeaux; studied law; attached to the court of Francis
     II in 1559, and to the person of Henry III in 1571; traveled
     in Germany, Italy and Switzerland in 1580; made mayor of
     Bordeaux in 1581; published his "Essays" in 1580, the first
     English translation, made by Florio, appearing in 1603.



Reader, loe here a well-meaning Booke. It doth at the first entrance
forewarne thee, that in contriving the same, I have proposed unto my
selfe no other than a familiar and private end: I have no respect or
consideration at all, either to thy service, or to my glory; my forces
are not capable of any such desseigne. I have vowed the same to the
particular commodity of my kinsfolks and friends: to the end, that
losing me (which they are likely to do ere long) they may therein
find some lineaments of my conditions and humors, and by that meanes
reserve more whole, and more lively foster, the knowledge and
acquaintance they have had of me. Had my intention beene to forestal
and purchase the worlds opinion and favor, I would surely have adorned
my selfe more quaintly, or kept a more grave and solemne march. I
desire therein to be delineated in mine owne genuine, simple and
ordinarie fashion, without contention, art or study; for it is my
selfe I pourtray. My imperfections shall therein be read to the life,
and my naturall forme discerned, so farre-forth as publike reverence
hath permitted me. For if my fortune had beene to have lived among
those nations, which yet are said to live under the sweet liberty of
Natures first and uncorrupted lawes, I assure thee, I would most
willingly have pourtrayed my selfe fully and naked. Thus, gentle
Reader, my selfe am the groundworke of my booke: It is then no reason
thou shouldest employ thy time about so frivolous and vaine a Subject.
Therefore farewell.

[Footnote 19: From the preface to the "Essays," as translated by John
Florio. A copy of Florio's "Montaigne" is known to have been in the
library of Shakespeare, one of the few extant autographs of the poet
being in a copy of this translation now preserved in the library of
the British Museum.

Montaigne is usually linked with Rabelais as to his important place in
the history of French prose. The two have come down to us very much as
Chaucer has come down in English literature--as a "well undefiled."
Montaigne secured in his own lifetime a popularity which he has never
lost, if, indeed, it has not been increased.]



There are some particular natures that are private and retired: my
natural way is proper for communication, and apt to lay me open; I am
all without and in sight, born for society and friendship. The
solitude that I love myself and recommend to others, is chiefly no
other than to withdraw my thoughts and affections into myself; to
restrain and check, not my steps, but my own cares and desires,
resigning all foreign solicitude, and mortally avoiding servitude and
obligation, and not so much the crowd of men, as the crowd of
business. Local solitude, to say the truth, rather gives me more room,
and sets me more at large; I more readily throw myself upon the
affairs of state and the world, when I am alone; at the Louvre, and in
the bustle of the court, I fold myself within my own skin; the crowd
thrusts me upon myself; and I never entertain myself so wantonly, with
so much license, or so especially, as in places of respect and
ceremonious prudence: our follies do not make me laugh, but our wisdom
does. I am naturally no enemy to a court life; I have therein passed a
good part of my own, and am of a humor cheerfully to frequent great
company, provided it be by intervals and at my own time: but this
softness of judgment whereof I speak, ties me perforce to solitude.
Even at home, amidst a numerous family, and in a house sufficiently
frequented, I see people enough, but rarely such with whom I delight
to converse; and I there reserve both for myself and others an unusual
liberty: there is in my house no such thing as ceremony, ushering, or
waiting upon people down to the coach, and such other troublesome
ceremonies as our courtesy enjoins (O servile and importunate custom!)
Every one there governs himself according to his own method; let who
will speak his thoughts, I sit mute, meditating and shut up in my
closet, without any offense to my guests.

[Footnote 20: From the Essay entitled "Of Three Commerces," in Book
III, Chapter III; translated by Charles Cotton, as revised by William
Carew Hazlitt.]

The men, whose society and familiarity I covet, are those they call
sincere and able men; and the image of these makes me disrelish the
rest. It is, if rightly taken, the rarest of our forms, and a form
that we chiefly owe to nature. The end of this commerce is simply
privacy, frequentation and conference, the exercise of souls, without
other fruit. In our discourse, all subjects are alike to me; let there
be neither weight, nor depth, 'tis all one: there is yet grace and
pertinency; all there is tinted with a mature and constant judgment,
and mixt with goodness, freedom, gaiety, and friendship. 'Tis not only
in talking of the affairs of kings and state, that our wits discover
their force and beauty, but every whit as much in private conferences.
I understand my men even by their silence and smiles; and better
discover them, perhaps, at table, than in the council. Hippomachus
said very well, "that he could know the good wrestlers by only seeing
them walk in the street." If learning please to step into our talk,
it shall not be rejected, not magisterial, imperious, and importunate,
as it commonly is, but suffragan and docile itself; we there only seek
to pass away our time; when we have a mind to be instructed and
preached to, we will go seek this in its throne; please let it humble
itself to us for the nonce; for, useful and profitable as it is, I
imagine that, at need, we may manage well enough without it, and do
our business without its assistance. A well-descended soul, and
practised in the conversation of men, will of herself render herself
sufficiently agreeable; art is nothing but the counterpart and
register of what such souls produce.



It goes side by side with me in my whole course, and everywhere is
assisting me: it comforts me in my old age and solitude; it eases me
of a troublesome weight of idleness, and delivers me at all hours from
company that I dislike: it blunts the point of griefs, if they are not
extreme, and have not got an entire possession of my soul. To divert
myself from a troublesome fancy, 'tis but to run to my books; they
presently fix me to them and drive the other out of my thoughts; and
do not mutiny at seeing that I have only recourse to them for want of
other more real, natural, and lively commodities; they always receive
me with the same kindness. He may well go afoot, they say, who leads
his horse in his hand; and our James, King of Naples and Sicily, who,
handsome, young and healthful, caused himself to be carried about on a
barrow, extended upon a pitiful mattress in a poor robe of gray cloth,
and a cap of the same, but attended withal by a royal train of
litters, led horses of all sorts, gentlemen and officers, did yet
herein represent a tender and unsteady authority: "The sick man is not
to be pitied, who has his cure in his sleeve." In the experience and
practise of this maxim, which is a very true one, consists all the
benefit I reap from books; and yet I make as little use of them,
almost, as those who know them not: I enjoy them as a miser does his
money, in knowing that I may enjoy them when I please: my mind is
satisfied with this right of possession. I never travel without books,
either in peace or war; and yet sometimes I pass over several days,
and sometimes months, without looking on them: I will read by and by,
say I to myself, or to-morrow, or when I please; and in the interim,
time steals away without any inconvenience. For it is not to be
imagined to what degree I please myself and rest content in this
consideration, that I have them by me to divert myself with them when
I am disposed, and to call to mind what a refreshment they are to my
life. 'Tis the best viaticum I have yet found out for this human
journey, and I very much pity those men of understanding who are
unprovided of it. I the rather accept of any other sort of diversion,
how light soever, because this can never fail me.

[Footnote 21: From the essay entitled "Of Three Commerces," Book III,
Chapter III. The translation of Charles Cotton, as revised by William
Carew Hazlitt.]

When at home, I a little more frequent my library, whence I overlook
at once all the concerns of my family. 'Tis situated at the entrance
into my house, and I thence see under me my garden, court, and
base-court, and almost all parts of the building. There I turn over
now one book, and then another, on various subjects without method or
design. One while I meditate, another I record and dictate, as I walk
to and fro, such whimsies as these I present to you here. 'Tis in the
third story of a tower, of which the ground room is my chapel, the
second story a chamber with a withdrawing-room and closet, where I
often lie, to be more retired; and above is a great wardrobe. This
formerly was the most useless part of the house. I there pass away
both most of the days of my life and most of the hours of those days.
In the night I am never there. There is by the side of it a cabinet
handsome enough, with a fireplace very commodiously contrived, and
plenty of light: and were I not more afraid of the trouble than the
expense--the trouble that frights me from all business, I could very
easily adjoin on either side, and on the same floor, a gallery of an
hundred paces long, and twelve broad, having found walls already
raised for some other design, to the requisite height.

Every place of retirement requires a walk: my thoughts sleep if I sit
still; my fancy does not go by itself, as when my legs move it: and
all those who study without a book are in the same condition. The
figure of my study is round, and there is no more open wall than what
is taken up by my table and my chair, so that the remaining parts of
the circle present me a view of all my books at once, ranged upon five
rows of shelves around about me. It has three noble and free
prospects, and is sixteen paces in diameter I am not so continually
there in winter; for my house is built upon an eminence, as its name
imports, and no part of it is so much exposed to the wind and weather
as this, which pleases me the better, as being of more difficult
access and a little remote, as well upon the account of exercise, as
also being there more retired from the crowd. 'Tis there that I am in
my kingdom, and there I endeavor to make myself an absolute monarch,
and to sequester this one corner from all society, conjugal, filial,
and civil; elsewhere I have but verbal authority only, and of a
confused essence. That man, in my opinion, is very miserable, who has
not a home where to be by himself, where to entertain himself alone,
or to conceal himself from others. Ambition sufficiently plagues her
proselytes, by keeping them always in show, like the statue of a
public square: "Magna servitus est magna fortuna." They can not so
much as be private in the water-closet. I have thought nothing so
severe in the austerity of life that our monks affect, as what I have
observed in some of their communities; namely, by rule to have a
perpetual society of place, and numerous persons present in every
action whatever: and think it much more supportable to be always
alone, than never to be so.

If any one shall tell me that it is to undervalue the muses, to make
use of them only for sport and to pass away the time, I shall tell
him, that he does not know, so well as I, the value of the sport, the
pleasure, and the pastime; I can hardly forbear to add that all other
end is ridiculous. I live from hand to mouth, and, with reverence be
it spoken, I only live for myself; there all my designs terminate. I
studied, when young, for ostentation; since, to make myself a little
wiser; and now for my diversion, but never for any profit. A vain and
prodigal humor I had after this sort of furniture, not only for the
supplying my own need, but, moreover, for ornament and outward show, I
have since quite cured myself of.

Books have many charming qualities to such as know how to choose them;
but every good has its ill; 'tis a pleasure that is not pure and
clean, no more than others: it has its inconveniences, and great ones
too. The soul indeed is exercised therein; but the body, the care of
which I must withal never neglect, remains in the mean time without
action, and grows heavy and somber. I know no excess more prejudicial
to me, nor more to be avoided in this my declining age.



A gentleman of my country, who was very often tormented with the gout,
being importun'd by his physicians totally to reclaim his appetite
from all manner of salt meats, was wont presently to reply that he
must needs have something to quarrel with in the extremity of his
fits, and that he fancy'd that railing at and cursing one while the
Bologna sausages, and another the dry'd tongues and the hams, was some
mitigation to his pain. And in good earnest, as the arm when it is
advanced to strike, if it fail of meeting with that upon which it was
design'd to discharge the blow, and spends itself in vain, does offend
the striker himself; and as also, that to make a pleasant prospect the
sight should not be lost and dilated in a vast extent of empty air,
but have some bounds to limit and circumscribe it at a reasonable

    "As winds do lose their strength, unless withstood
    By some dark grove of strong opposing wood."

[Footnote 22: The translation of Cotton before it was revised by

So it appears that the soul, being transported and discompos'd, turns
its violence upon itself, if not supply'd with something to oppose it,
and therefore always requires an enemy as an object on which to
discharge its fury and resentment. Plutarch says very well of those
who are delighted with little dogs and monkeys, that the amorous part
which is in us, for want of a legitimate object, rather than lie idle,
does after that manner forge, and create one frivolous and false; as
we see that the soul in the exercise of its passions inclines rather
to deceive itself, by creating a false and fantastical subject, even
contrary to its own relief, than not to have something to work upon.
And after this manner brute beasts direct their fury to fall upon the
stone or weapon that has hurt them, and with their teeth even execute
their revenge upon themselves, for the injury they have receiv'd from

    So the fierce bear, made fiercer by the smart
    Of the bold Lybian's mortal guided dart,
    Turns round upon the wound, and the tough spear
    Contorted o'er her breast does flying bear


What causes of the misadventures that befall us do we not invent? What
is it that we do not lay the fault to right or wrong, that we may have
something to quarrel with? Those beautiful tresses, young lady, you
may so liberally tear off, are no way guilty, nor is it the whiteness
of those delicate breasts you so unmercifully beat, that with an
unlucky bullet has slain your beloved brother: quarrel with something
else. Livy, Dec. 3, l. 5., speaking of the Roman army in Spain, says
that for the loss of two brothers, who were both great captains,
"_Flere omnes repente et offensare capita_," that they all wept, and
tore their hair. 'Tis the common practise of affliction. And the
philosopher Bion said pleasantly of the king, who by handfuls pull'd
his hair off his head for sorrow, "Does this man think that baldness
is a remedy for grief?" Who has not seen peevish gamesters worry the
cards with their teeth, and swallow whole bales of dice in revenge for
the loss of their money? Xerxes whipt the sea, and wrote a challenge
to Mount Athos; Cyrus employ'd a whole army several days at work, to
revenge himself of the river Gnidus, for the fright it had put him
into in passing over; and Caligula demolish'd a very beautiful palace
for the pleasure his mother had once enjoy'd there. I remember there
was a story current, when I was a boy, that one of our neighboring
kings, having receiv'd a blow from the hand of God, swore he would be
reveng'd, and in order to it, made proclamation that for ten years to
come no one should pray to him, or so much as mention him throughout
his dominions; by which we are not so much to take measure of the
folly, as the vain-glory of the nation of which this tale was told.
They are vices that, indeed, always go together; but such actions as
these have in them more of presumption than want of wit. Augustus
Cæsar, having been tost with a tempest at sea, fell to defying
Neptune, and in the pomp of the Circensian games, to be reveng'd,
depos'd his statue from the place it had amongst the other deities.
Wherein he was less excusable than the former, and less than he was
afterward, when having lost a battle under Quintilius Varus in
Germany, in rage and despair he went running his head against the
walls, and crying out, O Varus! give me my men again! for this exceeds
all folly, for as much as impiety is joined with it, invading God
himself, or at least Fortune, as if she had ears that were subject to
our batteries; like the Thracians, who, when it thunders, or lightens,
fall to shooting against heaven with Titanian madness, as if by
flights of arrows they intended to reduce God Almighty to reason. Tho
the ancient poet in Plutarch tells us,

    "We must not quarrel heaven in our affairs."

But we can never enough decry nor sufficiently condemn the senseless
and ridiculous sallies of our unruly passions.



Every one is acquainted with the story of King Croesus to this
purpose, who being taken prisoner by Cyrus, and by him condemn'd to
die, as he was going to execution, cry'd out, "O Solon, Solon!" which
being presently reported to Cyrus, and he sending to inquire what it
meant, Croesus gave him to understand that he now found the
advertisement Solon had formerly given him true to his cost, which
was, "That men, however fortune may smile upon them, could never be
said to be happy, till they had been seen to pass over the last day
of their lives, by reason of the uncertainty and mutability of human
things, which upon very light and trivial occasions are subject to be
totally chang'd into a quite contrary condition."

[Footnote 23: The translation of Cotton, before it was revised by

And therefore it was, that Agesilaus made answer to one that was
saying, "What a happy young man the King of Persia was to come so
young to so mighty a kingdom." "'Tis true [said he], but neither was
Priam unhappy at his years." In a short time, of kings of Macedon,
successors to that mighty Alexander, were made joyners and scriveners
at Rome; of a tyrant of Sicily, a pedant at Corinth; of a conqueror of
one-half of the world, and general of so many armies, a miserable
suppliant to the rascally officers of a king of Egypt. So much the
prolongation of five or six months of life cost the great and noble
Pompey, and no longer since than our fathers' days, Ludovico Sforza,
the tenth duke of Milan, whom all Italy had so long truckled under,
was seen to die a wretched prisoner at Loches, but not till he had
lived ten years in captivity, which was the worst part of his fortune.
The fairest of all queens (Mary, Queen of Scots), widow to the
greatest king in Europe,[24] did she not come to die by the hand of an
executioner? Unworthy and barbarous cruelty! and a thousand more
examples there are of the same kind; for it seems that as storms and
tempests have a malice to the proud and overtow'ring heights of our
lofty buildings, there are also spirits above that are envious of the
grandeurs here below.

[Footnote 24: Francis II of France, to whom she was married in 1558
and who died two years afterward.]

    _Usque adeo res humanas vis abdita quædam
    Obterit, et pulchros fasces, sævasque secures
    Proculcare ac ludibrio sibi habere videtur._

--_Lucret._, l. 5.

And it should seem also that Fortune sometimes lies in wait to
surprize the last hour of our lives, to show the power she has in a
moment to overthrow what she was so many years in building, making us
cry out with Laborius, "_Nimirum hac die una plus vixi mihi quam
vivendum fuit._"--Macrob., l. 2., c. 2. "I have liv'd longer by this
one day than I ought to have done." And in this sense, this good
advice of Solon may reasonably be taken; but he being a philosopher,
with which sort of men the favors and disgraces of fortune stand for
nothing, either to the making a man happy or unhappy, and with whom
grandeurs and powers, accidents of quality, are upon the matter
indifferent: I am apt to think that he had some further aim, and that
his meaning was that the very felicity of life itself, which depends
upon the tranquillity and contentment of a well-descended spirit, and
the resolution and assurance of a well-order'd soul, ought never to be
attributed to any man, till he has first been seen to play the last,
and doubtless the hardest act of his part, because there may be
disguise and dissimulation in all the rest, where these fine
philosophical discourses are only put on; and where accidents do not
touch us to the quick, they give us leisure to maintain the same sober
gravity; but in this last scene of death, there is no more
counterfeiting; we must speak plain, and must discover what there is
of pure and clean in the bottom.

    _Nam veræ voces tum demum pectore ab imo
    Ejiciuntur, et eripitur persona manet res._

--_Lucret._, l. 3.

    "Then that at last truth issues from the heart.
    The vizor's gone, we act our own true part."

Wherefore at this last all the other actions of our life ought to be
try'd and sifted. 'Tis the master-day, 'tis the day that is judge of
all the rest, 'tis the day (says one of the ancients) that ought to
judge of all my foregoing years. To death do I refer the essay of the
fruit of all my studies. We shall then see whether my discourses came
only from my mouth or from my heart. I have seen many by their death
give a good or an ill repute to their whole life. Scipio, the
father-in-law of Pompey the Great, in dying well, wip'd away the ill
opinion that till then every one had conceived of him. Epaminondas
being ask'd which of the three he had in the greatest esteem,
Chabrias, Iphicrates, or himself; "You must first see us die (said he)
before that question can be resolv'd": and, in truth, he would
infinitely wrong that great man, who would weigh him without the honor
and grandeur of his end.

God Almightly had order'd all things as it has best pleased Him; but I
have in my time seen three of the most execrable persons that ever I
knew in all manners of abominable living, and the most infamous to
boot, who all dy'd a very regular death, and in all circumstances
compos'd even to perfection. There are brave, and fortunate deaths. I
have seen death cut the thread of the progress of a prodigious
advancement, and in the height and flower of its increase of a certain
person, with so glorious an end, that in my opinion his ambitious and
generous designs had nothing in them so high and great as their
interruption; and he arrived without completing his course, at the
place to which his ambition pretended with greater glory than he could
himself either hope or desire, and anticipated by his fall the name
and power to which he aspir'd, by perfecting his career. In the
judgment I make of another man's life, I always observe how he carried
himself at his death; and the principal concern I have for my own is
that I may die handsomely; that is, patiently and without noise.


     Born in Touraine in 1596, died in Stockholm in 1650; founder
     of modern general philosophy; educated at a Jesuit college
     in France; lived in Paris in 1613-18; at the siege of La
     Rochelle in 1628; in retirement in Holland in 1629-49;
     defending his philosophical ideas; his first famous work,
     "Discours de la Methode," published in Leyden in 1637;
     published "Meditations of Philosophy" in 1641; a treatise on
     the passion of love in 1649; other works published after his
     death; famous as a mathematician as well as philosopher, his
     geometry being still standard in Europe.


Several questions remain for consideration respecting the attributes
of God and my own nature or mind. I will, however, on some other
occasion perhaps resume the investigation of these. Meanwhile, as I
have discovered what must be done and what avoided to arrive at the
knowledge of truth, what I have chiefly to do is to essay to emerge
from the state of doubt in which I have for some time been, and to
discover whether anything can be known with certainty regarding
material objects. But before considering whether such objects as I
conceive exist without me, I must examine their ideas in so far as
these are to be found in my consciousness, and discover which of them
are distinct and which confused.

[Footnote 25: From the "Meditations," translated by John Veitch.]

In the first place, I distinctly imagine that quantity which the
philosophers commonly call continuous, or the extension in length,
breadth, and depth that is in this quantity, or rather in the object
to which it is attributed. Further, I can enumerate in it many diverse
parts, and attribute to each of these all sorts of sizes, figures,
situations, and local motions; and, in fine, I can assign to each of
these motions all degrees of duration. And I not only distinctly know
these things when I thus consider them in general; but besides, by a
little attention, I discover innumerable particulars respecting
figures, numbers, motion, and the like, which are so evidently true,
and so accordant with my nature, that when I now discover them I do
not so much appear to learn anything new as to call to remembrance
what I before knew, or for the first time to remark what was before in
my mind, but to which I had not hitherto directed my attention. And
what I here find of most importance is, that I discover in my mind
innumerable ideas of certain objects, which can not be esteemed pure
negations, altho perhaps they possess no reality beyond my thought,
and which are not framed by me, tho it may be in my power to think, or
not to think them, but possess true and immutable natures of their

As, for example, when I imagine a triangle, altho there is not perhaps
and never was in any place in the universe apart from my thought one
such figure, it remains true, nevertheless, that this figure possesses
a certain determinate nature, form, or essence, which is immutable and
eternal, and not framed by me, nor in any degree dependent on my
thought; as appears from the circumstance, that diverse properties of
the triangle may be demonstrated, viz., that its three angles are
equal to two right, that its greatest side is subtended by its
greatest angle, and the like, which, whether I will or not, I now
clearly discern to belong to it, altho before I did not at all think
of them, when, for the first time, I imagined a triangle, and which
accordingly can not be said to have been invented by me.

Nor is it a valid objection to allege that perhaps this idea of a
triangle came into my mind by the medium of the senses, through my
having seen bodies of a triangular figure; for I am able to form in
thought an innumerable variety of figures with regard to which it can
not be supposed that they were ever objects of sense, and I can
nevertheless demonstrate diverse properties of their nature no less
than of the triangle, all of which are assuredly true since I clearly
conceive them: and they are therefore something, and not mere
negations; for it is highly evident that all that is true is something
(truth being identical with existence); and I have already fully shown
the truth of the principle, that whatever is clearly and distinctly
known is true. And altho this had not been demonstrated, yet the
nature of my mind is such as to compel me to assent to what I clearly
conceive while I so conceive it; and I recollect that even when I
still strongly adhered to the objects of sense, I reckoned among the
number of the most certain truths those I clearly conceived relating
to figures, numbers, and other matters that pertain to arithmetic and
geometry, and in general to the pure mathematics.

But now if because I can draw from my thought the idea of an object it
follows that all I clearly and distinctly apprehend to pertain to this
object does in truth belong to it, may I not from this derive an
argument for the existence of God? It is certain that I no less find
the idea of a God in my consciousness, that is, the idea of a being
supremely perfect, than that of any figure or number whatever: and I
know with not less clearness and distinctness that an (actual and
eternal) existence pertains to his nature than that all which is
demonstrable of any figure or number really belongs to the nature of
that figure or number; and, therefore, altho all the conclusions of
the preceding "Meditations" were false, the existence of God would
pass with me for a truth at least as certain as I ever judged any
truth of mathematics to be, altho indeed such a doctrine may at first
sight appear to contain more sophistry than truth. For, as I have been
accustomed in every other matter to distinguish between existence and
essence, I easily believe that the existence can be separated from the
essence of God, and that thus God may be conceived as not actually
existing. But, nevertheless, when I think of it more attentively, it
appears that the existence can no more be separated from the essence
of God than the idea of a mountain from that of a valley, or the
equality of its three angles to two right angles, from the essence of
a (rectilineal) triangle; so that it is not less impossible to
conceive a God, that is, a being supremely perfect, to whom existence
is wanting, or who is devoid of a certain perfection, than to conceive
a mountain without a valley.

But tho, in truth, I can not conceive a God unless as existing, any
more than I can a mountain without a valley, yet, just as it does not
follow that there is any mountain in the world merely because I
conceive a mountain with a valley, so likewise, tho I conceive God as
existing, it does not seem to follow on that account that God exists;
for my thought imposes no necessity on things; and as I may imagine a
winged horse, tho there be none such, so I could perhaps attribute
existence to God, tho no God existed. But the cases are not analogous,
and a fallacy lurks under the semblance of this objection: for because
I can not conceive a mountain without a valley, it does not follow
that there is any mountain or valley in existence, but simply that the
mountain or valley, whether they do or do not exist, are inseparable
from each other; whereas, on the other hand, because I can not
conceive God unless as existing, it follows that existence is
inseparable from Him, and therefore that He really exists: not that
this is brought about by my thought, or that it imposes any necessity
on things, but, on the contrary, the necessity which lies in the thing
itself, that is, the necessity of the existence of God, determines me
to think in this way: for it is not in my power to conceive a God
without existence, that is, a being supremely perfect, and yet devoid
of an absolute perfection, as I am free to imagine a horse with or
without wings.


     Born in 1613, died in 1680; a duke and prince of distinction
     in his own day, but now known through his "Maxims,"
     "Memoirs" and "Letters"; his "Maxims" first issued
     anonymously in 1665; a sixth edition, published in 1693,
     contains fifty additional maxims; his Letters not published
     until 1818.


The contempt of riches in philosophers was only a hidden desire to
avenge their merit upon the injustice of fortune, by despising the
very goods of which fortune had deprived them; it was a secret to
guard themselves against the degradation of poverty; it was a back way
by which to arrive at that distinction which they could not gain by

[Footnote 26: From the translation by J. W. Willis Bund and J. Hain
Friswell. At least eight English translations of La Rochefoucauld had
appeared before 1870--including the years 1689, 1694, 1706, 1749, 1799
and 1815. Besides these, Swedish, Spanish and Italian translations
have been made. The first English version (1689), appears to have been
made by Mrs. Aphra Behn, the barber's daughter, upon whom has been
conferred the distinction of being "the first female writer who lived
by her pen in England." One of the later translations is by A. S.
Bolton. The translation by Messrs. Bund and Friswell includes fifty
additional maxims attributed to La Rochefoucauld.]

Perfect valor is to do without witnesses what one would do before all
the world.

As it is the mark of great minds to say many things in a few words,
so it is that of little minds to use many words to say nothing.

Who lives without folly is not so wise as he thinks.

There is no disguise which can long hide love where it exists, nor
feign it where it does not.

The gratitude of most men is but a secret desire of receiving greater

Almost all the world takes pleasure in paying small debts; many people
show gratitude for trifling, but there is hardly one who does not show
ingratitude for great favors.

Nothing is rarer than true good nature; those who think they have it
are generally only pliant or weak.

There is no less eloquence in the voice, in the eyes and in the air of
a speaker than in his choice of words.

True eloquence consists in saying all that should be, not all that
could be said.

There are people whose faults become them, others whose very virtues
disgrace them.

We are never so happy or so unhappy as we suppose.

Our enemies come nearer the truth in the opinions they form of us than
we do in our opinion of ourselves.

Most people judge men only by success or by fortune.

Love of glory, fear of shame, greed of fortune, the desire to make
life agreeable and comfortable, and the wish to depreciate others are
often causes of that bravery so vaunted among men.

The fame of great men ought always to be estimated by the means used
to acquire it.

If we never flattered ourselves the flattery of others would not hurt

When great men permit themselves to be cast down by the continuance of
misfortune, they show us that they were only sustained by ambition,
and not by their mind; so that _plus_ a great vanity, heroes are made
like other men.

We may forgive those who bore us, we can not forgive those whom we

To praise good actions heartily is in some measure to take part in

There is a kind of greatness which does not depend upon fortune: it is
a certain manner that distinguishes us, and which seems to destine us
for great things: it is the value we insensibly set upon ourselves; it
is by this quality that we gain the deference of other men, and it is
this which commonly raises us more above them than birth, rank, or
even merit itself.

The cause why the majority of women are so little given to friendship
is, that it is insipid after having felt love.

Women can not be completely severe unless they hate.

The praise we give to new comers into the world arises from the envy
we bear to those who are established.

Little minds are too much wounded by little things; great minds see
all and are not even hurt.

Most young people think they are natural when they are only boorish
and rude.

To establish ourselves in the world we do everything to appear as if
we were established.

Why we hate with so much bitterness those who deceive us is because
they think themselves more clever than we are.

Too great a hurry to discharge an obligation is a kind of ingratitude.

The moderation of those who are happy arises from the calm which good
fortune bestows upon their temper.

Pride is much the same in all men; the only difference is the method
and manner of showing it.

The constancy of the wise is only the talent of concealing the
agitation of their hearts.

Whatever difference there appears in our fortunes, there is
nevertheless a certain compensation of good and evil which renders
them equal.

What we term virtue is often but a mass of various actions and divers
interests, which fortune, or our own industry, manage to arrange; and
it is not always from valor or from chastity that men are brave, and
women chaste.

Most men expose themselves in battle enough to save their honor, few
wish to do so more than sufficiently, or than is necessary to make the
design for which they expose themselves succeed.

If we never flattered ourselves we should have but scant pleasure.

Sincerity is an openness of heart; we find it in very few people; what
we usually see is only an artful dissimulation to win the confidence
of others.

We may find women who have never indulged in an intrigue, but it is
rare to find those who have intrigued but once.

Every one blames his memory, no one blames his judgment.

In the intercourse of life, we please more by our faults than by our
good qualities.

We are easily consoled at the misfortunes of our friends when they
enable us to prove our tenderness for them.

Virtue in woman is often the love of reputation and repose.

He is a truly good man who desires always to bear the inspection of
good men.

We frequently do good to enable us with impunity to do evil.

Every one praises his heart, none dare praise their understanding.

He is really wise who is nettled at nothing.

Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.[27]

In the adversity of our best friends we always find something which is
not wholly displeasing to us.[28]

[Footnote 27: A maxim similar to this has been found in the writings
of other men. Thus Massillon, in one of his sermons, said, "Vice pays
homage to virtue in doing honor to her appearance"; and Junius,
writing to the Duke of Grafton, said, "You have done as much mischief
to the community as Machiavel, if Machiavel had not known that an
appearance of morals and religion are useful in society." Both,
however, lived in a period subsequent to that in which La
Rochefoucauld wrote.]

[Footnote 28: This maxim, which more than any other has caused La
Rochefoucauld to be criticized severely as a cynic, if not a
misanthrope, appeared only in the first two editions of the book. In
the others, published in the author's lifetime, it was supprest. In
defense of the author, it has been maintained that what he meant by
the saying was that the pleasure derived from a friend's misfortunes
has its origin in the opportunity thus afforded to give him help. The
reader should compare this saying with another that is included in
these selections, "We are easily consoled at the misfortunes of our
friends when they enable us to prove our tenderness for them."]

The confidence we have in ourselves arises in a great measure from
that that we have in others.

Women for the most part surrender themselves more from weakness than
from passion. Whence it is that bold and pushing men succeed better
than others, altho they are not so lovable.

The great ones of the earth can neither command health of body nor
repose of mind, and they buy always at too dear a price the good they
can acquire.

Few things are needed to make a wise man happy; nothing can make a
fool content; that is why most men are miserable.

The harm that others do us is often less than that we do ourselves.

Magnanimity is a noble effort of pride which makes a man master of
himself, to make him master of all things.


     Born in France in 1623, died in 1662; educated in Paris;
     became celebrated at seventeen for a work on conic sections;
     became connected with the monastery at Port Royal, whose
     doctrines he defended against the Jesuits; published
     "Entretien sur Epictéte et Montaigne" in 1655; wrote his
     "Provincial Letters" in 1656-57; in his last days engaged on
     an "Apologie de la Religion Catholique" which, uncompleted,
     was published in 1670 as his "Pensées."


Self is hateful. You, Milton, conceal self, but do not thereby destroy
it; therefore you are still hateful. Not so, for in acting as we do,
to oblige everybody, we give no reason for hating us. True, if we only
hated in self the vexation which it causes us. But if I hate it
because it is unjust, and because it makes itself the center of all, I
shall always hate it.

[Footnote 29: From the "Thoughts." Many translations have been made of
Pascal's "Thoughts"--one in 1680 by J. Walker, one in 1704 by Basil
Kennet, one in 1825 by Edward Craig. A more modern one is by C. Kegan
Paul, the London publisher, who was also a man of letters. Early
translations from the older French, Italian and other Continental
writers have frequently come down to us without mention of
translators' names on title-pages or in the prefatory matter.]

In one word, Self has two qualities: it is unjust in its essence,
because it makes itself the center of all; it is inconvenient to
others, in that it would bring them into subjection, for each "I" is
the enemy, and would fain be the tyrant of all others. You take away
the inconvenience, but not the injustice, and thus you do not render
it lovable to those who hate injustice; you render it lovable only to
the unjust, who find in it an enemy no longer. Thus you remain unjust
and can please none but the unjust.

OF SELF-LOVE.--The nature of self-love and of this human "I" is to
love self only, and consider self only. But what can it do? It can not
prevent the object it loves from being full of faults and miseries;
man would fain be great and sees that he is little; would fain be
happy, and sees that he is miserable; would fain be perfect, and sees
that he is full of imperfections; would fain be the object of the love
and esteem of men, and sees that his faults merit only their aversion
and contempt. The embarrassment wherein he finds himself produces in
him the most unjust and criminal passion imaginable. For he conceives
a mortal hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him
of his faults. Desiring to annihilate it, yet unable to destroy it in
its essence, he destroys it as much as he can in his own knowledge,
and in that of others; that is to say, he devotes all his care to the
concealment of his faults, both from others and from himself, and he
can neither bear that others should show them to him, nor that they
should see them.

It is no doubt an evil to be full of faults, but it is a greater evil
to be full of them, yet unwilling to recognize them, because that is
to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion. We do not like
others to deceive us, we do not think it just in them to require more
esteem from us than they deserve; it is therefore unjust that we
should deceive them, desiring more esteem from them than we deserve.

Thus if they discover no more imperfections and vices in us than we
really have, it is plain they do us no wrong, since it is not they who
cause them; but rather they who do us a service, since they help us to
deliver ourselves from an evil, the ignorance of these imperfections.
We ought not to be troubled that they know our faults and despise us,
since it is but just they should know us as we are, and despise us if
we are despicable.

Such are the sentiments which would arise in a heart full of equity
and justice. What should we say then of our own heart, finding in it a
wholly contrary disposition? For is it not true that we hate truth,
and those who tell it us, and that we would wish them to have an
erroneously favorable opinion of us, and to esteem us other than
indeed we are?

One proof of this fills me with dismay. The Catholic religion does not
oblige us to tell out our sins indiscriminately to all; it allows us
to remain hidden from men in general; but she excepts one alone, to
whom she commands us to open the very depths of our hearts, and to
show ourselves to him as we are. There is but this one man in the
world whom she orders us to undeceive; she binds him to an inviolable
secrecy, so that this knowledge is to him as tho it were not. We can
imagine nothing more charitable and more tender. Yet such is the
corruption of man, that he finds even this law harsh, and it is one of
the main reasons which has set a large portion of Europe in revolt
against the Church.

How unjust and unreasonable is the human heart which finds it hard to
be obliged to do in regard to one man what in some degree it were just
to do to all men. For is it just that we should deceive them?

There are different degrees in this dislike to the truth, but it may
be said that all have it in some degree, for it is inseparable from
self-love. This false delicacy causes those who must needs reprove
others to choose so many windings and modifications in order to avoid
shocking them. They must needs lessen our faults, seem to excuse them,
mix praises with their blame, give evidences of affection and esteem.
Yet this medicine is bitter to self-love, which takes as little as it
can, always with disgust, often with a secret anger.

Hence it happens that if any desire our love, they avoid doing us a
service which they know to be disagreeable; they treat us as we would
wish to be treated: we hate the truth, and they hide it from us; we
wish to be flattered, they flatter us; we love to be deceived, they
deceive us.

Thus each degree of good fortune which raises us in the world removes
us further from truth, because we fear most to wound those whose
affection is most useful, and whose dislike is most dangerous. A
prince may be the byword of all Europe, yet he alone know nothing of
it. I am not surprized; to speak the truth is useful to whom it is
spoken, but disadvantageous to those who speak it, since it makes them
hated. Now those who live with princes love their own interests more
than that of the prince they serve, and thus they take care not to
benefit him so as to do themselves a disservice.

This misfortune is, no doubt, greater and more common in the higher
classes, but lesser men are not exempt from it, since there is always
an interest in making men love us. Thus human life is but a perpetual
illusion, an interchange of deceit and flattery. No one speaks of us
in our presence as in our absence. The society of men is founded on
this universal deceit; few friendships would last if every man knew
what his friend said of him behind his back, tho he then spoke in
sincerity and without passion.

Man is, then, only disguise, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in himself
and with regard to others. He will not be told the truth; he avoids
telling it to others; and all these tendencies, so far removed from
justice and reason, have their natural roots in his heart.


     Born in Paris in 1626, died in 1696; married in 1644 to the
     Marquis de Sévigné, who was killed in a duel in 1651; lived
     late in life in Brittany; wrote to her married daughter,
     Madame de Grigman, the famous letters from which has
     proceeded her fame.



I am going to tell you a thing, the most astonishing, the most
surprizing, the most marvelous, the most miraculous, the most
magnificent, the most confounding, the most unheard-of, the most
singular, the most extraordinary, the most incredible, the most
unforeseen, the greatest, the least, the rarest, the most common, the
most public, the most private till to-day, the most brilliant, the
most inevitable; in short, a thing of which there is but one example
in past ages, and that not an exact one either; a thing that we can
not believe at Paris; how, then, will it gain credence at Lyons? a
thing which makes everybody cry, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" a thing
which causes the greatest joy to Madame de Rohan and Madame de
Hauterive; a thing, in fine, which is to happen on Sunday next, when
those who are present will doubt the evidence of their senses; a thing
which, tho it is to be done on Sunday, yet perhaps will not be
finished on Monday.

[Footnote 30: From a letter dated Paris, December 15, 1670. George
Saintsbury has described Madame de Sévigné as "the most charming of
all letter-writers in all languages." Translations of these letters
into English were made in 1732, 1745, 1764, and other years, including
a version by Mackie in 1802.]

I can not bring myself to tell you; guess what it is. I give you three
times to do it in. What, not a word to throw at a dog? Well, then, I
find I must tell you. Monsieur de Lauzun is to be married next Sunday
at the Louvre, to--pray guess to whom! I give you four times to do it
in,--I give you six,--I give you a hundred. Says Madame de Coulanges:
"It is really very hard to guess; perhaps it is Madame de la

Indeed madame, it is not. "It is Mademoiselle de Retz, then." No, nor she
either; you are extremely provincial. "Lord bless me," say you, "what
stupid wretches we are! it is Mademoiselle de Colbert all the while." Nay,
now you are still further from the mark. "Why, then, it must certainly be
Mademoiselle de Crequy." You have it not yet. Well, I find I must tell you
at last. He is to be married next Sunday at the Louvre, with the King's
leave, to Mademoiselle--Mademoiselle de--Mademoiselle--guess, pray guess
her name; he is to be married to Mademoiselle, the great Mademoiselle;
Mademoiselle, daughter of the late Monsieur; Mademoiselle, granddaughter of
Henry IV; Mademoiselle d'Eu, Mademoiselle de Dombes, Mademoiselle de
Montpensier, Mademoiselle d'Orleans, Mademoiselle, the King's
cousin-german--Mademoiselle, destined to the throne--Mademoiselle, the only
match in France that was worthy of Monsieur.

What glorious matter for talk! If you should burst forth like a
bedlamite, say we have told you a lie, that it is false, that we are
making a jest of you, and that a pretty jest it is, without wit or
invention; in short, if you abuse us, we shall think you are quite in
the right; for we have done just the same things ourselves. Farewell,
you will find by the letters you receive this post whether we tell you
truth or not.



I must return to narration, it is a folly I can never resist. Prepare,
therefore, for a description. I was yesterday at a service performed
in honor of the Chancellor Segnier at the Oratory. Painting,
sculpture, music, rhetoric--in a word, the four liberal arts--were at
the expense of it. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the decorations;
they were finely imagined, and designed by Le Brun. The mausoleum
reached to the top of the dome, adorned with a thousand lamps, and a
variety of figures characteristic of him in whose honor it was
erected. Beneath were four figures of Death, bearing the marks of his
several dignities, as having taken away his honors with his life. One
of them held his helmet, another his ducal coronet, another the
ensigns of his order, another his chancellor's mace. The four sister
arts, painting, music, eloquence and sculpture, were represented in
deep distress, bewailing the loss of their protector. The first
representation was supported by the four virtues, fortitude,
temperance, justice, and religion. Above these, four angels, or genii,
received the soul of the deceased, and seemed preening their purple
wings to bear their precious charge to heaven. The mausoleum was
adorned with a variety of little seraphs who supported an illuminated
shrine, which was fixt to the top of the cupola. Nothing so
magnificent or so well imagined was ever seen; it is Le Brun's
masterpiece. The whole church was adorned with pictures, devices, and
emblems, which all bore some relation to the life, or office of the
chancellor; and some of his noblest actions were represented in
painting. Madame de Verneuil offered to purchase all the decoration at
a great price; but it was unanimously resolved by those who had
contributed to it to adorn a gallery with it, and to consecrate it as
an everlasting monument of their gratitude and magnificence. The
assembly was grand and numerous, but without confusion. I sat next to
Monsieur de Tulle, Madame Colbert and the Duke of Monmouth, who is as
handsome as when we saw him at the _palais royal_. (Let me tell you in
a parenthesis that he is going to the army to join the King.) A young
father of the Oratory came to speak the funeral oration. I desired
Monsieur de Tulle to bid him come down, and to mount the pulpit in his
place; since nothing could sustain the beauty of the spectacle, and
the excellence of the music but the force of his eloquence.

[Footnote 31: From a letter to her daughter, dated Paris, May 6,

My child, this young man trembled when he began, and we all trembled
for him. Our ears were at first struck with a provincial accent; he is
of Marseilles, and called Lené. But as he recovered from his
confusion, he became so brilliant; established himself so well, gave
so just a measure of praise to the deceased; touched with so much
address and delicacy all the passages in his life where delicacy was
required! placed in so true a light all that was most worthy of
admiration; employed all the charms of expression, all the masterly
strokes of eloquence with so much propriety and so much grace that
every one present, without exception, burst into applause, charmed
with so perfect, so finished a performance. He is twenty-eight years
of age, the intimate friend of M. de Tulle, who accompanied him when
he left the assembly. We were for naming him the Chevalier Mascaron,
and I think he will even surpass his friend. As for the music, it was
fine beyond all description. Baptiste exerted himself to the utmost,
and was assisted by all the King's musicians. There was an addition
made to that fine "Miserere," and there was a "Libera" which filled
the eyes of the whole assembly with tears; I do not think the music in
heaven could exceed it. There were several prelates present. I desired
Guitaut to look for the good Bishop of Marseilles, but we could not
see him. I whispered him that if it had been the funeral oration of
any person living to whom he might have made his court by it he would
not have failed to have been there. This little pleasantry made us
laugh, in spite of the solemnity of the ceremony. My dear child, what
a strange letter is this! I fancy I have almost lost my senses! What
is this long account to you? To tell the truth, I have satisfied my
love of description.


     Born in France in 1668, died in 1747; studied philosophy and
     law in Paris; wrote many novels and plays, some of them
     borrowed from Spanish originals; published his chief work,
     "Gil Blas," in 1715-35.



I determined to throw myself in the way of Sigñor Arias de Londona,
and to look out for a new berth in his register; but as I was on my
way to No Thoroughfare, who should come across me but Doctor Sangrado,
whom I had not seen since the day of my master's death. I took the
liberty of touching my hat. He kenned me in a twinkling, tho I had
changed my dress; and with as much warmth as his temperament would
allow him, "Heyday!" said he, "the very lad I wanted to see; you have
never been out of my thought. I have occasion for a clever fellow
about me, and pitched upon you as the very thing, if you can read and
write." "Sir," replied I, "if that is all you require, I am your man."
"In that case," rejoined he, "we need look no further. Come home with
me: it will be all comfort; I shall behave to you like a brother. You
will have no wages, but everything will be found you. You shall eat
and drink according to the true faith, and be taught to cure all
diseases. In a word, you shall rather be my young Sangrado than my

[Footnote 32: From "Gil Blas," which is perhaps as well known in
English as in French, innumerable translations having been made. The
best known is the one by Tobias Smollett, which has survived in favor
to the present time. A translation by P. Proctor appeared in 1774, one
by Martin Smart in 1807, and one by Benjamin H. Malkin in 1809.]

I closed in with the doctor's proposal, in the hope of becoming an
Esculapius under so inspired a master. He carried me home on the spur
of the occasion, to install me in my honorable employment; which
honorable employment consisted in writing down the name and residence
of the patients who sent for him in his absence. There had indeed been
a register for this purpose, kept by an old domestic; but she had not
the gift of spelling accurately, and wrote a most perplexing hand.
This account I was to keep. It might truly be called a bill of
mortality; for my members all went from bad to worse during the short
time they continued in this system. I was a sort of bookkeeper for the
other world, to take places in the stage, and to see that the first
come were the first served. My pen was always in my hand, for Doctor
Sangrado had more practise than any physician of his time in
Valladolid. He had got into reputation with the public by a certain
professional slang, humored by a medical face, and some extraordinary
cases more honored by implicit faith than scrupulous investigation.

He was in no want of patients, nor consequently of property. He did
not keep the best house in the world: we lived with some little
attention to economy. The usual bill of fare consisted of peas,
beans, boiled apples or cheese. He considered this food as best suited
to the human stomach; that is to say, as most amenable to the
grinders, whence it was to encounter the process of digestion.
Nevertheless, easy as was their passage, he was not for stopping the
way with too much of them; and to be sure, he was in the right. But
tho he cautioned the maid and me against repletion in respect of
solids, it was made up by free permission to drink as much water as we
liked. Far from prescribing us any limits in that direction, he would
tell us sometimes: "Drink, my children: health consists in the
pliability and moisture of the parts. Drink water by pailfuls: it is a
universal dissolvent; water liquefies all the salts. Is the course of
the blood a little sluggish? this grand principle sets it forward: too
rapid? its career is checked." Our doctor was so orthodox on this head
that the advanced in years, he drank nothing himself but water. He
defined old age to be a natural consumption which dries us up and
wastes us away: on this principle he deplored the ignorance of those
who call wine "old men's milk." He maintained that wine wears them out
and corrodes them; and pleaded with all the force of his eloquence
against that liquor, fatal in common both to the young and old--that
friend with a serpent in its bosom--that pleasure with a dagger under
its girdle.

In spite of these fine arguments, at the end of a week a looseness
ensued, with some twinges, which I was blasphemous enough to saddle on
the universal dissolvent and the new-fangled diet. I stated my
symptoms to my master, in the hope that he would relax the rigor of
his regimen and qualify my meals with a little wine; but his hostility
to that liquor was inflexible. "If you have not philosophy enough,"
said he, "for pure water, there are innocent infusions to strengthen
the stomach against the nausea of aqueous quaffings. Sage, for
example, has a very pretty flavor; and if you wish to heighten it into
a debauch, it is only mixing rosemary, wild poppy, and other simples
with it--but no compounds."

In vain did he crack off his water, and teach me the secret of
composing delicious messes. I was so abstemious that, remarking my
moderation, he said: "In good sooth, Gil Bias, I marvel not that you
are no better than you are: you do not drink enough, my friend. Water
taken in a small quantity serves only to separate the particles of
bile and set them in action; but our practise is to drown them in a
copious drench. Fear not, my good lad, lest a superabundance of liquid
should either weaken or chill your stomach; far from thy better
judgment be that silly fear of unadulterated drink. I will insure you
against all consequences; and if my authority will not serve your
turn, read Celsus. That oracle of the ancient makes an admirable
panegyric on water; in short, he says in plain terms that those who
plead an inconstant stomach in favor of wine, publish a libel on their
own viscera, and make their constitution a pretense for their

As it would have been ungenteel in me to run riot on my entrance into
the career of practise, I affected thorough conviction; indeed, I
thought there was something in it. I therefore went on drinking water
on the authority of Celsus, or to speak in scientific terms, I began
to drown the bile in copious drenches of that unadulterated liquor;
and tho I felt myself more out of order from day to day, prejudice won
the cause against experience. It is evident therefore that I was in
the right road to the practise of physic. Yet I could not always be
insensible to the qualms which increased in my frame, to that degree
as to determine me on quitting Doctor Sangrado. But he invested me
with a new office which changed my tone. "Hark you, my child," said he
to me one day: "I am not one of those hard and ungrateful masters who
leave their household to grow gray in service without a suitable
reward. I am well pleased with you, I have a regard for you; and
without waiting till you have served your time, I will make your
fortune. Without more ado, I will initiate you in the healing art, of
which I have for so many years been at the head. Other physicians make
the science to consist of various unintelligible branches; but I will
shorten the road for you, and dispense with the drudgery of studying
natural philosophy, pharmacy, botany, and anatomy. Remember, my
friend, that bleeding and drinking warm water are the two grand
principles--the true secret of curing all the distempers incident to
humanity. Yes, this marvelous secret which I reveal to you, and which
Nature, beyond the reach of my colleagues, has failed in rescuing from
my pen, is comprehended in these two articles; namely, bleeding and
drenching. Here you have the sum total of my philosophy; you are
thoroughly bottomed in medicine, and may raise yourself to the summit
of fame on the shoulders of my long experience. You may enter into
partnership at once, by keeping the books in the morning and going out
to visit patients in the afternoon. While I dose the nobility and
clergy, you shall labor in your vocation among the lower orders; and
when you have felt your ground a little, I will get you admitted into
our body. You are a philosopher, Gil Blas, tho you have never
graduated; the common herd of them, tho they have graduated in due
form and order, are likely to run out the length of their tether
without knowing their right hand from their left."

I thanked the doctor for having so speedily enabled me to serve as his
deputy; and by way of acknowledging his goodness, promised to follow
his system to the end of my career, with a magnanimous indifference
about the aphorisms of Hippocrates. But that engagement was not to be
taken to the letter. This tender attachment to water went against the
grain, and I had a scheme for drinking wine every day snugly among the
patients. I left off wearing my own suit a second time, to take up one
of my master's and look like an experienced practitioner. After which
I brought my medical theories into play, leaving those it might
concern to look to the event. I began on an alguazil in a pleurisy; he
was condemned to be bled with the utmost rigor of the law, at the same
time that the system was to be replenished copiously with water. Next
I made a lodgment in the veins of a gouty pastry-cook, who roared like
a lion by reason of gouty spasms. I stood on no more ceremony with
his blood than with that of the alguazil, and laid no restriction on
his taste for simple liquids. My prescriptions brought me in twelve
rials: an incident so auspicious in my professional career, that I
only wished for the plagues of Egypt on all the hale subjects of



I had been after dinner to get together my baggage, and take my horse
from the inn where I had put up; and afterward returned to supper at
the archbishop's palace, where a neatly furnished room was got ready
for me, and such a bed as was more likely to pamper than to mortify
the flesh. The day following his Grace sent for me quite as soon as I
was ready to go to him. It was to give me a homily to transcribe. He
made a point of having it copied with all possible accuracy. It was
done to please him; for I omitted neither accent, nor comma, nor the
minutest tittle of all he had marked down. His satisfaction at
observing this was heightened by its being unexpected. "Eternal
Father!" exclaimed he in a holy rapture, when he had glanced his eye
over all the folios of my copy, "was ever anything seen so correct?
You are too good a transcriber not to have some little smattering of
the grammarian. Now tell me with the freedom of a friend: in writing
it over, have you been struck with nothing that grated upon your
feelings? Some little careless idiom, or some word used in an improper
sense?" "Oh, may it please your Grace," answered I with a modest air,
"it is not for me, with my confined education and coarse taste, to aim
at making critical remarks. And tho ever so well qualified, I am
satisfied that your Grace's works would come out pure from the essay."
The successor of the apostles smiled at my answer. He made no
observation on it; but it was easy to see through all his piety that
he was an arrant author at the bottom: there is something in that dye
that not heaven itself can wash out.

[Footnote 33: From "Gil Blas."]

I seemed to have purchased the fee simple of his good graces by my
flattery. Day after day did I get a step farther in his esteem; and
Don Ferdinand, who came to see him very often, told me my footing was
so firm that there could not be a doubt but my fortune was made. Of
this my master himself gave me a proof some little time afterward; and
the occasion was as follows: One evening in his closet he rehearsed
before me, with appropriate emphasis and action, a homily which he was
to deliver the next day in the cathedral. He did not content himself
with asking me what I thought of it in the gross, but insisted on my
telling him what passages struck me most. I had the good fortune to
pick out those which were nearest to his own taste--his favorite
commonplaces. Thus, as luck would have it, I passed in his estimation
for a man who had a quick and natural relish of the real and less
obvious beauties in a work. "This indeed," exclaimed he, "is what you
may call having discernment and feeling in perfection! Well, well, my
friend! it can not be said of you,

    '_Beatum in crasso jurares aëre natum._'"

In a word, he was so highly pleased with me as to add in a tone of
extraordinary emotion, "Never mind, Gil Bias! henceforward take no
care about hereafter: I shall make it my business to place you among
the favored children of my bounty. You have my best wishes; and to
prove to you that you have them, I shall take you into my inmost

These words were no sooner out of his mouth than I fell at his Grace's
feet, quite overwhelmed with gratitude. I embraced his elliptical legs
with almost pagan idolatry, and considered myself as a man on the
high-road to a very handsome fortune. "Yes, my child," resumed the
archbishop, whose speech had been cut short by the rapidity of my
prostration, "I mean to make you the receiver-general of all my inmost
ruminations. Harken attentively to what I am going to say. I have a
great pleasure in preaching. The Lord sheds a blessing on my homilies;
they sink deep into the hearts of sinners; set up a glass in which
vice sees its own image, and bring back many from the paths of error
into the high-road of repentance. What a heavenly sight, when a miser,
scared at the hideous picture of his avarice drawn by my eloquence,
opens his coffers to the poor and needy, and dispenses the accumulated
store with a liberal hand! The voluptuary, too, is snatched from the
pleasures of the table; ambition flies at my command to the wholesome
discipline of the monastic cell; while female frailty, tottering on
the brink of ruin, with one ear open to the siren voice of the seducer
and the other to my saintly correctives, is restored to domestic
happiness and the approving smile of heaven, by the timely warnings of
the pulpit.

"These miraculous conversions, which happen almost every Sunday, ought
of themselves to goad me on in the career of saving souls.
Nevertheless, to conceal no part of my weakness from my monitor, there
is another reward on which my heart is intent--a reward which the
seraphic scrupulousness of my virtue to little purpose condemns as too
carnal--a literary reputation for a sublime and elegant style. The
honor of being handed down to posterity as a perfect pulpit orator has
its irresistible attractions. My compositions are generally thought to
be equally powerful and persuasive; but I could wish of all things to
steer clear of the rock on which good authors split who are too long
before the public, and to retire from professional life with my
reputation in undiminished luster. To this end, my dear Gil Blas,"
continued the prelate, "there is one thing requisite from your zeal
and friendship. Whenever it shall strike you that my pen begins to
contract, as it were, the ossification of old age, whenever you see my
genius in its climateric, do not fail to give me a hint. There is no
trusting to one's self in such a case: pride and conceit were the
original sin of man. The probe of criticism must be entrusted to an
impartial stander-by, of fine talents and unshaken probity. Both those
requisites center in you: you are my choice, and I give myself up to
your direction."

"Heaven be praised, my lord," said I, "there is no need to trouble
yourself with any such thoughts yet. Besides, an understanding of your
Grace's mold and caliber will last out double the time of a common
genius; or to speak with more certainty and truth, it will never be
the worse for wear, if you live to the age of Methusaleh. I consider
you as a second Cardinal Ximenes, whose powers, superior to decay,
instead of flagging with years, seemed to derive new vigor from their
approximation with the heavenly regions." "No flattery, my friend!"
interrupted he. "I know myself to be in danger of failing all at once.
At my age one begins to be sensible of infirmities, and those of the
body communicate with the mind, I repeat it to you, Gil Bias, as soon
as you shall be of opinion that my head is not so clear as usual, give
me warning of it instantly. Do not be afraid of offending by frankness
and sincerity: to put me in mind of my own frailty will be the
strongest proof of your affection for me. Besides, your very interest
is concerned in it; for if it should, by any spite of chance toward
you, come to my ears that the people say in town, 'His Grace's sermons
produce no longer their accustomed impression; it is time for him to
abandon his pulpit to younger candidates'--I do assure you, most
seriously and solemnly, you will lose not only my friendship, but the
provision for life that I have promised you. Such will be the result
of your silly tampering with truth."

Here my patron left off to wait for my answer, which was an echo of
his speech, and a promise of obeying him in all things. From that
moment there were no secrets from me; I became the prime favorite. All
the household, except Melchior de la Ronda, looked at me with an eye
of envy. It was curious to observe the manner in which the whole
establishment, from the highest to the lowest, thought it necessary to
demean themselves toward his Grace's confidential secretary; there was
no meanness to which they would not stoop to curry favor with me: I
could scarcely believe they were Spaniards. I left no stone unturned
to be of service to them, without being taken in by their interested


     Born in France in 1675, died in 1755; served in the army in
     the time of Louis XIV; member of the Council of Regency in
     the reign of Louis XV; ambassador to Spain to 1721; his
     "Memoirs," first published in twenty volumes it 1829-30; not
     to be confounded with the Count of Saint-Simon, the
     philosopher and socialist, the memoir writer being a duke.



Monseigneur le Dauphin, ill and agitated by the most bitter grief,
kept his chamber; but on Saturday morning of the 13th, being prest to
go to Marly to avoid the horror of the noise where the Dauphine was
lying dead, he set out for that place at seven o'clock in the morning.
Shortly after arriving he heard mass in the chapel, and thence was
carried in a chair to the window of one of his rooms. Madame de
Maintenon came to see him there afterward. The anguish of the
interview was speedily too much for her, and she went away. Early in
the morning I went uninvited to see M. le Dauphin. He showed me that
he perceived this with an air of gentleness and of affection which
penetrated me. But I was terrified with his looks, constrained, fixt
and with something wild about them; with the change of his looks and
with the marks there, livid rather than red, that I observed in good
number and large; marks observed by the others also.

[Footnote 34: From the "Memoirs on the Reign of Louis XIV and the
Regency." Translated by Bayle St. John, traveler and Author, his
"Village Life Egypt" appearing in 1852.]

The Dauphin was standing. In a few moments he was apprized that the
King had awaked. The tears that he had restrained now rolled from his
eyes; he turned round at the news, but said nothing, remaining stock
still. His three attendants proposed to him once or twice that he
should go to the King. He neither spoke nor stirred. I approached and
made signs to him to go, then softly spoke to the same effect. Seeing
that he still remained speechless and motionless, I made bold to take
his arm, representing to him that sooner or later he must see the
King, who expected him, and assuredly with the desire to see and
embrace him. He cast upon me a look that pierced my soul and went
away. I followed him some few steps and then withdrew to recover
breath. I never saw him again. May I, by the mercy of God, see him
eternally where God's goodness doubtless has placed him!

The Dauphin reached the chamber of the King, full just then of
company. As soon as he appeared the King called him and embraced him
tenderly again and again. These first moments, so touching, passed in
words broken by sobs and tears. Shortly afterward the King, looking at
the Dauphin, was terrified by the same things that had previously
struck me with affright. Everybody around was so also, the doctors
more than the others. The King ordered them to feel his pulse, that
they found bad, so they said afterward; for the time they contented
themselves with saying that it was not regular, and that the Dauphin
would do wisely to go to bed. The King embraced him again, recommended
him very tenderly to take care of himself, and ordered him to go to
bed. He obeyed and rose no more!

It was now late in the morning. The King had passed a cruel night and
had a bad headache; he saw at his dinner the few courtiers who
presented themselves, and then after dinner went to the Dauphin. The
fever had augmented, the pulse was worse than before. The King passed
into the apartment of Madame de Maintenon, and the Dauphin was left
with attendants and his doctors. He spent the day in prayers and holy

On the morrow, Sunday, the uneasiness felt on account of the Dauphin
augmented. He himself did not conceal his belief that he would never
rise again, and that the plot Pondin had warned him of had been
executed. He explained himself to this effect more than once and
always with a disdain of earthly grandeur and an incomparable
submission and love of God. It is impossible to describe the general
consternation. On Monday the 15th the King was bled. The Dauphin was
no better than before. The King and Madame de Maintenon saw him
separately several times during the day, which was passed in prayers
and reading.

On Tuesday, the 16th, the Dauphin was worse. He felt himself devoured
by a consuming fire, which the external fever did not seem to justify,
but the pulse was very extraordinary and exceedingly menacing. This
was a deceptive day. The marks in the Dauphin's face extended all
over the body. They were regarded as the marks of measles. Hope arose
thereon, but the doctors and the most clear-sighted of the court could
not forget that these same marks had shown themselves on the body of
the Dauphine, a fact unknown out of her chamber until after death.

On Wednesday, the 17th, the malady considerably increased. I had news
at all times of the Dauphin's state from Cheverney, an excellent
apothecary of the King and of my family. He hid nothing from us. He
had told us what he thought of the Dauphine's illness; he told us now
what he thought of the Dauphin's. I no longer hoped therefore, or
rather I hoped to the end against all hope.

On Wednesday the pains increased. They were like a devouring fire, but
more violent than ever. Very late into the evening the Dauphin sent to
the King for permission to receive the communion early the next
morning and without display at the mass performed in his chamber.
Nobody heard of this that evening; it was not known until the
following morning. I was in extreme desolation. I scarcely saw the
King once a day. I did nothing but go in quest of news several times a
day, and to the house of M. de Chevreuse, where I was completely free.
M. de Chevreuse--always calm, always sanguine--endeavored to prove to
us by his medical reasonings that there was more reason to hope than
to fear; but he did so with a tranquillity that roused my impatience.
I returned home to pass a cruel night.

On Thursday morning, the 18th February, I learned that the Dauphin,
who had waited for midnight with impatience, had heard mass
immediately after the communion, had passed two hours in devout
communication with God, and that his reason then became embarrassed.
Madame de Saint-Simon told me afterward that he had received extreme
unction; in fine that he had died at half-past eight.

These memoirs are not written to describe my private sentiments. But
in reading them--if long after me they shall ever appear--my state and
that of Madame de Saint-Simon will only too keenly be felt. I will
content myself with saying that the first days after the Dauphin's
death scarcely appeared to us more than moments; that I wished to quit
all, to withdraw from the court and the world, and that I was only
hindered by the wisdom, conduct and power over me of Madame de
Saint-Simon, who yet had some trouble to subdue my sorrowful desire.



The King wished to show the court all the maneuvers of war; the siege
of Compiègne was therefore undertaken, according to due form, with
lines, trenches, batteries, mines, etc. On Saturday, the 13th of
September, the assault took place. To witness it, the King, Madame de
Maintenon,[36] all the ladies of the court, and a number of
gentlemen, stationed themselves upon an old rampart, from which the
plain and all the disposition of the troops could be seen. I was in
the half-circle very close to the King. It was the most beautiful
sight that can be imagined to see all that army, and the prodigious
number of spectators on horse and foot, and that game of attack and
defense so cleverly conducted.

[Footnote 35: From the "Memoirs."]

But a spectacle of another sort--that I could paint forty years hence
as well as to-day, so strongly did it strike me--was that which from
the summit of this rampart the King gave to all his army, and to the
innumerable crowd of spectators of all kinds in the plain below.
Madame de Maintenon faced the plain and the troops in her sedan-chair,
alone, between its three windows drawn up; her porters having retired
to a distance. On the left pole in front sat Madame la Duchesse de
Bourgogne; and on the same side, in a semicircle, standing, were
Madame la Duchesse, Madame la Princesse de Conti, and all the
ladies--and behind them again, many men. At the right window was the
King, standing, and a little in the rear a semicircle of the most
distinguished men of the court. The King was nearly always uncovered;
and every now and then stooped to speak to Madame de Maintenon, and
explain to her what she saw, and the reason of each movement.

[Footnote 36: At the period of which Saint-Simon here writes, Madame
de Maintenon had acquired that ascendency over Louis XIV which
resulted in her marriage to him. She had been born in a prison, and
was three years the senior of the King. Her first husband was the poet
Scarron, at whose death, after a marriage of nine years, she had found
herself in poverty. She secured a pension from Anne of Austria, the
mother of the King, but at the queen-mother's death the pension was
discontinued. She was placed in charge of the King's natural son, to
whom she became much devoted, and was advanced through the King's
favor to various positions at court, receiving in 1678 the title of
marquise. Five years later the queen of Louis XIV died, and Louis
married Madame de Maintenon, whose influence over him in matters of
church and state became thereafter very great. She was a patroness of
art and literature, intensely orthodox in religion, and has been held
largely responsible for the King's revocation of the Edict of Nantes,
which occurred during the year of their marriage, tho she opposed the
violent persecutions which followed.]

Each time that he did so she was obliging enough to open the window
four or five inches, but never half-way; for I noticed particularly,
and I admit that I was more attentive to this spectacle than to that
of the troops. Sometimes she opened of her own accord to ask some
question of him: but generally it was he who, without waiting for her,
stooped down to instruct her of what was passing; and sometimes, if
she did not notice him, he tapped at the glass to make her open it. He
never spoke save to her, except when he gave a few brief orders, or
just answered Madame la Duchesse de Bourgogne, who wanted to make him
speak, and with whom Madame de Maintenon carried on a conversation by
signs, without opening the front window, through which the young
princess screamed to her from time to time. I watched the countenance
of every one carefully: all exprest surprize, tempered with prudence,
and shame that was, as it were, ashamed of itself; every one behind
the chair and in the semicircle watched this scene more than what was
going on in the army. The King often put his hat on the top of the
chair in order to get his head in to speak; and this continual
exercise tired his loins very much. Monseigneur was on horseback in
the plain with the young princes. It was about five o'clock in the
afternoon, and the weather was as brilliant as could be desired.

Opposite the sedan-chair was an opening with some steps cut through
the wall, and communicating with the plain below. It had been made for
the purpose of fetching orders from the King, should they be
necessary. The case happened. Crenan, who commanded, sent Conillac, an
officer in one of the defending regiments, to ask for some
instructions from the King. Conillac had been stationed at the foot of
the rampart, where what was passing above could not be seen. He
mounted the steps; and as soon as his head and shoulders were at the
top, caught sight of the chair, the King, and all the assembled
company. He was not prepared for such a scene; and it struck him with
such astonishment that he stopt short, with mouth and eyes wide
open--surprize painted upon every feature. I see him now as distinctly
as I did then. The King, as well as the rest of the company, remarked
the agitation of Conillac, and said to him with emotion, "Well,
Conillac! come up." Conillac remained motionless, and the King
continued, "Come up. What is the matter?" Conillac, thus addrest,
finished his ascent, and came toward the King with slow and trembling
steps, rolling his eyes from right to left like one deranged. Then he
stammered something, but in a tone so low that it could not be heard.
"What do you say?" cried the King. "Speak up." But Conillac was
unable; and the King, finding he could get nothing out of him, told
him to go away. He did not need to be told twice, but disappeared at
once. As soon as he was gone, the King looking round said, "I don't
know what is the matter with Conillac. He has lost his wits: he did
not remember what he had to say to me." No one answered.

Toward the moment of the capitulation, Madame de Maintenon apparently
asked permission to go away; for the King cried, "The chairmen of
madame!" They came and took her away; in less than a quarter of an
hour afterward the King retired also, and nearly everybody else. There
was much interchange of glances, nudging with elbows, and then
whisperings in the ear. Everybody was full of what had taken place on
the ramparts between the King and Madame de Maintenon. Even the
soldiers asked what meant that sedan-chair, and the King every moment
stooping to put his head inside of it. It became necessary gently to
silence these questions of the troops. What effect this sight had upon
foreigners present, and what they said of it, may be imagined. All
over Europe it was as much talked of as the camp of Compiègne itself,
with all its pomp and prodigious splendor.


     Born near Bordeaux in 1689, died in Paris in 1755; studied
     law and became a councilor in 1716; president of the
     Bordeaux Parliament; devoted himself to a study of
     literature and jurisprudence; published "Persian Letters" in
     1721, which secured him an election to the Academy in 1728;
     traveled in Austria, Italy, Germany, Holland and England;
     published "Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans" in 1734,
     and "Spirit of the Laws" in 1748.[37]



While the sovereignty of Rome was confined to Italy, it was easy for
the commonwealth to subsist: every soldier was at the same time a
citizen; every Consul raised an army, and other citizens marched into
the field under his successor: as their forces were not very numerous,
such persons only were received among the troops as had possessions
considerable enough to make them interested in the preservation of the
city; the Senate kept a watchful eye over the conduct of the generals,
and did not give them an opportunity of machinating anything to the
prejudice of their country.

[Footnote 37: Montesquieu is declared by Mr. Saintsbury to deserve the
title of "the greatest man of letters of the French eighteenth
century." He places him above Voltaire because "of his far greater
originality and depth of thought."]

[Footnote 38: From the "Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans," of
which an English translation was issued as early as 1751.]

But after the legions had passed the Alps and crossed the sea, the
soldiers whom the Romans had been obliged to leave during several
campaigns in the countries they were subduing, lost insensibly that
genius and turn of mind which characterized a Roman citizen; and the
generals having armies and kingdoms at their disposal were sensible of
their own strength, and would no longer obey.

The soldiers therefore began to acknowledge no superior but their
general; to found their hopes on him only, and to view the city as
from a great distance: they were no longer the soldiers of the
republic, but of Sulla, of Marius, of Pompey, and of Cæsar. The Romans
could no longer tell whether the person who headed an army in a
province was their general or their enemy.

So long as the people of Rome were corrupted by their tribunes only,
on whom they could bestow nothing but their power, the Senate could
easily defend themselves, because they acted consistently and with one
regular tenor, whereas the common people were continually shifting
from the extremes of fury to the extremes of cowardice; but when they
were enabled to invest their favorites with a formidable exterior
authority, the whole wisdom of the Senate was baffled, and the
commonwealth was undone.

The reason why free states are not so permanent as other forms of
government is because the misfortunes and successes which happen to
them generally occasion the loss of liberty; whereas the successes and
misfortunes of an arbitrary government contribute equally to the
enslaving of the people. A wise republic ought not to run any hazard
which may expose it to good or ill fortune; the only happiness the
several individuals of it should aspire after is to give perpetuity to
their state.

If the unbounded extent of the Roman empire proved the ruin of the
republic, the vast compass of the city was no less fatal to it.

The Romans had subdued the whole universe by the assistance of the
nations of Italy, on whom they had bestowed various privileges at
different times. Most of those nations did not at first set any great
value on the freedom of the city of Rome, and some chose rather to
preserve their ancient usages; but when this privilege became that of
universal sovereignty--when a man who was not a Roman citizen was
considered as nothing, and with this title was everything--the people
of Italy resolved either to be Romans or die: not being able to obtain
this by cabals and entreaties, they had recourse to arms; and rising
in all that part of Italy opposite to the Ionian sea, the rest of the
allies were going to follow their example. Rome, being now forced to
combat against those who were, if I may be allowed the figure, the
hands with which they shackled the universe, was upon the brink of
ruin; the Romans were going to be confined merely to their walls: they
therefore granted this so much wished-for privilege to the allies who
had not yet been wanting in fidelity; and they indulged it, by
insensible degrees, to all other nations.

But now Rome was no longer that city the inhabitants of which had
breathed one and the same spirit, the same love for liberty, the same
hatred of tyranny; a city in which a jealousy of the power of the
Senate and of the prerogatives of the great (ever accompanied with
respect) was only a love of equality. The nations of Italy being made
citizens of Rome, every city brought thither its genius, its
particular interests, and its dependence on some mighty protector:
Rome, being now rent and divided, no longer formed one entire body,
and men were no longer citizens of it but in a kind of fictitious way;
as there were no longer the same magistrates, the same walls, the same
gods, the same temples, the same burying-places, Rome was no longer
beheld with the same eyes; the citizens were no longer fired with the
same love for their country, and the Roman sentiments were

Cities and nations were now invited to Rome by the ambitious, to
disconcert the suffrages, or influence them in their own favor; the
public assemblies were so many conspiracies against the state, and a
tumultuous crowd of seditious wretches was dignified with the title of
Comitia. The authority of the people and their laws--nay, that people
themselves--were no more than so many chimeras; and so universal was
the anarchy of those times that it was not possible to determine
whether the people had made a law or not.

Authors enlarge very copiously on the divisions which proved the
destruction of Rome; but their readers seldom discover those divisions
to have been always necessary and inevitable. The grandeur of the
republic was the only source of that calamity, and exasperated
popular tumults into civil wars. Dissensions were not to be prevented;
and those martial spirits which were so fierce and formidable abroad
could not be habituated to any considerable moderation at home. Those
who expect in a free state to see the people undaunted in war and
pusillanimous in peace, are certainly desirous of impossibilities; and
it may be advanced as a general rule that whenever a perfect calm is
visible, in a state that calls itself a republic, the spirit of
liberty no longer subsists.

Union, in a body politic, is a very equivocal term: true union is such
a harmony as makes all the particular parts, as opposite as they may
seem to us, concur to the general welfare of the society, in the same
manner as discords in music contribute to the general melody of sound.
Union may prevail in a state full of seeming commotions; or in other
words, there may be a harmony from whence results prosperity, which
alone is true peace; and may be considered in the same view as the
various parts of this universe, which are eternally connected by the
action of some and the reaction of others.

In a despotic state, indeed, which is every government where the power
is immoderately exerted, a real division is perpetually kindled. The
peasant, the soldier, the merchant, the magistrate, and the grandee,
have no other conjunction than what arises from the ability of the one
to oppress the other without resistance; and if at any time a union
happens to be introduced, citizens are not then united, but dead
bodies are laid in the grave contiguous to each other.

It must be acknowledged that the Roman laws were too weak to govern
the republic; but experience has proved it to be an invariable fact
that good laws, which raise the reputation and power of a small
republic, become incommodious to it when once its grandeur is
established, because it was their natural effect to make a great
people but not to govern them.

The difference is very considerable between good laws and those which
may be called convenient; between such laws as give a people dominion
over others, and such as continue them in the possession of power when
they have once acquired it.

There is at this time a republic in the world (the Canton of Berne),
of which few persons have any knowledge, and which, by plans
accomplished in silence and secrecy, is daily enlarging its power. And
certain it is that if it ever rises to that height of grandeur for
which it seems preordained by its wisdom, it must inevitably change
its laws; and the necessary innovations will not be effected by any
legislator, but must spring from corruption itself.

Rome was founded for grandeur, and her laws had an admirable tendency
to bestow it; for which reason, in all the variations of her
government, whether monarchy, aristocracy, or popular, she constantly
engaged in enterprises which required conduct to accomplish them, and
always succeeded. The experience of a day did not furnish her with
more wisdom than all other nations, but she obtained it by a long
succession of events. She sustained a small, a moderate, and an
immense fortune with the same superiority, derived true welfare from
the whole train of her prosperities, and refined every instance of
calamity into beneficial instructions.

She lost her liberty because she completed her work too soon.



Laws, in their most general signification, are the necessary relations
arising from the nature of things. In this sense all beings have their
laws; the Deity His laws, the material world its laws, the
intelligences superior to man their laws, the beasts their laws, man
his laws.

[Footnote 39: From "The Spirit of Laws." The translation of Thomas
Nugent was published in 1756.]

They who assert that a blind fatality produced the various effects we
behold in this world talk very absurdly; for can anything be more
unreasonable than to pretend that a blind fatality could be productive
of intelligent beings?

There is, then, a primitive reason; and laws are the relations
subsisting between it and different beings, and the relations of these
to one another.

God is related to the universe, as Creator and Preserver; the laws by
which He created all things are those by which He preserves them. He
acts according to these rules, because He knows them; He knows them,
because He made them; and He made them, because they are relative to
His wisdom and power.

Since we observe that the world, tho formed by the motion of matter,
and void of understanding, subsists through so long a succession of
ages, its motions must certainly be directed by invariable laws; and
could we imagine another world, it must also have constant rules, or
it would inevitably perish.

Thus the creation, which seems an arbitrary net, supposes laws as
invariable as those of the fatality of the atheists. It would be
absurd to say that the Creator might govern the world without these
rules, since without them it could not subsist.

These rules are a fixt and variable relation. In bodies moved, the
motion is received, increased, diminished, lost, according to the
relations of the quantity of matter and velocity; each diversity is
uniformity, each change is constancy.

Particular intelligent beings may have laws of their own making, but
they have some likewise which they never made. Before they were
intelligent beings, they were possible; they had therefore possible
relations, and consequently possible laws. Before laws were made,
there were relations of possible justice. To say that there is nothing
just or unjust but what is commanded or forbidden by positive laws is
the same as saying that before the describing of a circle all the
radii were not equal.

We must therefore acknowledge relations of justice antecedent to the
positive law by which they are established: as for instance, that if
human societies existed it would be right to conform to their laws; if
there were intelligent beings that had received a benefit of another
being, they ought to show their gratitude; if one intelligent being
had created another intelligent being, the latter ought to continue in
its original state of dependence; if one intelligent being injures
another, it deserves a retaliation; and so on.

But the intelligent world is far from being so well governed as the
physical. For tho the former has also its laws, which of their own
nature are invariable, it does not conform to them so exactly as the
physical world. This is because, on the one hand, particular
intelligent beings are of a finite nature, and consequently liable to
error; and on the other, their nature requires them to be free agents.
Hence they do not steadily conform to their primitive laws; and even,
those of their own instituting they frequently infringe.

Whether brutes be governed by the general laws of motion or by a
particular movement we can not determine. Be that as it may, they have
not a more intimate relation to God than the rest of the material
world; and sensation is of no other use to them than in the relation
they have either to other particular beings or to themselves.

By the allurements of pleasure they preserve the individual, and by
the same allurements they preserve their species. They have natural
laws, because they are united by sensation; positive laws they have
none, because they are not connected by knowledge. And yet they do not
invariably conform to their natural laws; these are better observed
by vegetables, that have neither understanding nor sense.

Brutes are deprived of the high advantages which we have; but they
have some which we have not. They have not our hopes, but they are
without our fears; they are subject like us to death, but without
knowing it; even most of them are more attentive than we to
self-preservation, and do not make so bad a use of their passions.

Man, as a physical being, is like other bodies, governed by invariable
laws. As an intelligent being, he incessantly transgresses the laws
established by God, and changes those of his own instituting. He is
left to his private direction, tho a limited being, and subject, like
all finite intelligences, to ignorance and error; even his imperfect
knowledge he loses; and as a sensible creature, he is hurried away by
a thousand impetuous passions. Such a being might every instant forget
his Creator; God has therefore reminded him of his duty by the laws of
religion. Such a being is liable every moment to forget himself;
philosophy has provided against this by the laws of morality. Formed
to live in society, he might forget his fellow creatures; legislators
have therefore by political and civil laws confined him to his duty.


     Born in Paris in 1694, died in 1778; his original name
     Arouet; educated at the College of Louis-le-Grand; exiled
     because of his freedom of speech; twice imprisoned in the
     Bastille; resided in England in 1726-29; went to Prussia at
     the invitation of Frederick the Great in 1750, remaining
     three years, the friendship ending in bitter enmity; wrote
     in Prussia his "Le Siècle de Louis XIV"; settled at Geneva
     in 1756, and two years later at Ferney, where he lived until
     his death in 1778; visited Paris in 1778, being received
     with great honors; his works very numerous, one edition
     comprizing seventy-two volumes.



Not long since the trite and frivolous question following was debated
in a very polite and learned company, viz., Who was the greatest man,
Cæsar, Alexander, Tamerlane, Cromwell, etc.?

[Footnote 40: From the "Letters on England." Voltaire's visit to
England followed immediately upon his release from imprisonment in the
Bastille. During the two years he spent there, he acquired an intimate
knowledge of English life, and came to know most of the eminent
Englishmen of the time.

An English version of Voltaire's writings, in thirty-five volumes, was
published in 1761-69, with notes by Smollett and others. The "Letters
from England" seem to have first appeared in English in 1734.]

Somebody answered that Sir Isaac Newton excelled them all. The
gentleman's assertion was very just; for if true greatness consists in
having received from heaven a mighty genius, and in having employed
it to enlighten our own mind and that of others, a man like Sir Isaac
Newton, whose equal is hardly found in a thousand years, is the truly
great man. And those politicians and conquerors (and all ages produce
some) were generally so many illustrious wicked men. That man claims
our respect who commands over the minds of the rest of the world by
the force of truth, not those who enslave their fellow creatures; he
who is acquainted with the universe, not they who deface it.

The most singular and the best of all his pieces is that which, at
this time, is the most useless and the least read. I mean his "Novum
Scientiarum Organum." This is the scaffold with which the new
philosophy was raised; and when the edifice was built, part of it, at
least the scaffold was no longer of service.

Lord Bacon was not yet acquainted with nature, but then he knew, and
pointed out the several paths that lead to it. He had despised in his
younger years the thing called philosophy in the universities, and did
all that lay in his power to prevent those societies of men instituted
to improve human reason from depraving it by their quiddities, their
horrors of the vacuum, their substantial forms, and all those
impertinent terms which not only ignorance had rendered venerable, but
which had been made sacred by their being ridiculously blended with

He is the father of experimental philosophy. It must, indeed, be
confest that very surprizing secrets had been found out before his
time--the sea compass, printing, engraving on copper plates, oil
painting, looking-glasses; the art of restoring, in some measure, old
men to their sight by spectacles; gunpowder, etc., had been
discovered. A new world had been fought for, found, and conquered.
Would not one suppose that these sublime discoveries had been made by
the greatest philosophers, and in ages much more enlightened than the
present? But it was far otherwise; all these great changes happened in
the most stupid and barbarous times. Chance only gave birth to most of
those inventions; and it is very probable that what is called chance
contributed very much to the discovery of America; at least it has
been always thought that Christopher Columbus undertook his voyage
merely on the relation of a captain of a ship which a storm had driven
as far westward as the Caribbean Island. Be this as it will, men had
sailed round the world, and could destroy cities by an artificial
thunder more dreadful than the real one; but, then, they were not
acquainted with the circulation of the blood, the weight of the air,
the laws of motions, light, the number of our planets, etc. And a man
who maintained a thesis on Aristotle's "Categories," on the universals
_a parte rei_, or such-like nonsense, was looked upon as a prodigy.

The most astonishing, the most useful inventions, are not those which
reflect the greatest honor on the human mind. It is to a mechanical
instinct, which is found in many men, and not to true philosophy that
most arts owe their origin.

The discovery of fire, the art of making bread, of melting and
preparing metals, of building houses, and the invention of the shuttle
are infinitely more beneficial to mankind than printing or the sea
compass; and yet these arts were invented by uncultivated, savage men.

What a prodigious use the Greeks and Romans made afterward of
mechanics! Nevertheless, they believed that there were crystal
heavens, that the stars were small lamps which sometimes fell into the
sea, and one of their greatest philosophers, after long researches,
found that the stars were so many flints which had been detached from
the earth.

In a word, no one before Lord Bacon was acquainted with experimental
philosophy, nor with the several physical experiments which have been
made since his time. Scarce one of them but is hinted at in his work,
and he himself had made several. He made a kind of pneumatic engine,
by which he guessed the elasticity of the air. He approached on all
sides, as it were, to the discovery of its weight, and had very near
attained it, but some time after Torricelli seized upon this truth. In
a little time experimental philosophy began to be cultivated on a
sudden in most parts of Europe. It was a hidden treasure which Lord
Bacon had some notion of, and which all the philosophers, encouraged
by his promises, endeavored to dig up.

But that which surprized me most was to read in his work, in express
terms, the new attraction, the invention of which is ascribed to Sir
Isaac Newton.

We must search, says Lord Bacon, whether there may not be a kind of
magnetic power which operates between the earth and heavy bodies,
between the moon and the ocean, between the planets, etc. In another
place he says, either heavy bodies must be carried toward the center
of the earth, or must be reciprocally attracted by it; and in the
latter case it is evident that the nearer bodies in their falling,
draw toward the earth, the stronger they will attract one another. We
must, says he, make an experiment to see whether the same clock will
go faster on the top of a mountain or at the bottom of a mine; whether
the strength of the weights decreases on the mountain and increases in
the mine. It is probable that the earth has a true attractive power.

This forerunner in philosophy was also an elegant writer, a historian,
and a wit.

His moral essays are greatly esteemed, but they were drawn up in the
view of instructing rather than of pleasing; and, as they are not a
satire upon mankind, like Rochefoucauld's "Maxims," nor written upon a
skeptical plan, like Montaigne's "Essays," they are not so much read
as those two ingenious authors.



Neither the English nor any other people have foundations established
in favor of the polite arts like those in France. There are
universities in most countries, but it is in France only that we meet
with so beneficial an encouragement for astronomy and all parts of the
mathematics, for physic, for researches into antiquity, for painting,
sculpture, and architecture. Louis XIV has immortalized his name by
these several foundations, and this immortality did not cost him two
hundred thousand livres a year.

[Footnote 41: From the "Letters on England."]

I must confess that one of the things I very much wonder at is that as
the Parliament of Great Britain have promised a reward of £20,000 to
any person who may discover the longitude, they should never have once
thought to imitate Louis XIV in his munificence with regard to the
arts and sciences.

Merit, indeed, meets in England with rewards of another kind, which
redound more to the honor of the nation. The English have so great a
veneration for exalted talents, that a man of merit in their country
is always sure of making his fortune. Mr. Addison in France would have
been elected a member of one of the academies, and, by the credit of
some women, might have obtained a yearly pension of twelve hundred
livres, or else might have been imprisoned in the Bastille, upon
pretense that certain strokes in his tragedy of Cato had been
discovered which glanced at the porter of some man in power. Mr.
Addison was raised to the post of Secretary of State in England. Sir
Isaac Newton was made Master of the Royal Mint. Mr. Congreve had a
considerable employment. Mr. Prior was Plenipotentiary. Dr. Swift is
Dean of St. Patrick's in Dublin, and is more revered in Ireland than
the Primate himself. The religion which Mr. Pope professes[42]
excludes him, indeed, from preferments of every kind, but then it did
not prevent his gaining two hundred thousand livres by his excellent
translation of Homer. I myself saw a long time in France the author of
"Rhadamistus"[43] ready to perish for hunger. And the son of one of
the greatest men our country ever gave birth to, and who was beginning
to run the noble career which his father had set him, would have been
reduced to the extremes of misery had he not been patronized by
Monsieur Fagon.

[Footnote 42: Pope was a Catholic.]

[Footnote 43: "Rhadamiste et Zénobia," a tragedy by Crébillon (1711),
who long suffered from neglect and want.]

But the circumstance which mostly encourages the arts in England is
the great veneration which is paid them. The picture of the Prime
Minister hangs over the chimney of his own closet, but I have seen
that of Mr. Pope in twenty noblemen's houses. Sir Isaac Newton was
revered in his lifetime, and had a due respect paid to him after his
death,--the greatest men in the nation disputing who should have the
honor of holding up his pall. Go into Westminster Abbey, and you will
find that what raises the admiration of the spectator is not the
mausoleums of the English kings, but the monuments which the gratitude
of the nation has erected to perpetuate the memory of those
illustrious men who contributed to its glory. We view their statues in
that abbey in the same manner as those of Sophocles, Plato, and other
immortal personages were viewed in Athens; and I am persuaded that the
bare sight of those glorious monuments has fired more than one breast,
and been the occasion of their becoming great men.

The English have even been reproached with paying too extravagant
honors to mere merit, and censured for interring the celebrated
actress Mrs. Oldfield[44] in Westminster Abbey, with almost the same
pomp as Sir Isaac Newton. Some pretend that the English had paid her
these great funeral honors purposely to make us more strongly sensible
of the barbarity and injustice which they object to in us, for having
buried Mademoiselle Le Couvreur ignominiously in the fields.

[Footnote 44: Anne, or "Nance" Oldfield was born in 1683, and died in
1730. Her death occurred in the year which followed the close of
Voltaire's English visit. At her funeral, the body lay in state in the
Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey. She had a natural son, who
married Lady Mary Walpole, a natural daughter of Sir Robert Walpole,
the Prime Minister.]

But be assured from me that the English were prompted by no other
principle in burying Mrs. Oldfield in Westminster Abbey than their
good sense. They are far from being so ridiculous as to brand with
infamy an art which has immortalized a Euripides and a Sophocles; or
to exclude from the body of their citizens a set of people whose
business is to set off with the utmost grace of speech and action
those pieces which the nation is proud of.

Under the reign of Charles I and in the beginning of the civil wars
raised by a number of rigid fanatics, who at last were the victims to
it, a great many pieces were published against theatrical and other
shows, which were attacked with the greater virulence because that
monarch and his queen, daughter to Henry I of France, were
passionately fond of them.

One Mr. Prynne, a man of most furiously scrupulous principles, who
would have thought himself damned had he worn a cassock instead of a
short cloak, and have been glad to see one-half of mankind cut the
other to pieces for the glory of God and the _Propaganda Fide_, took
it into his head to write a most wretched satire against some pretty
good comedies, which were exhibited very innocently every night before
their majesties. He quoted the authority of the Rabbis, and some
passages from St. Bonaventura, to prove that the "Oedipus" of
Sophocles was the work of the evil spirit; that Terence was
excommunicated _ipso facto_; and added that doubtless Brutus, who was
a very severe Jansenist, assassinated Julius Cæsar for no other reason
but because he, who was Pontifex Maximus, presumed to write a tragedy
the subject of which was "Oepidus." Lastly, he declared that all who
frequented the theater were excommunicated, as they thereby renounced
their baptism. This was casting the highest insult on the king and all
the royal family; and as the English loved their prince at that time,
they could not bear to hear a writer talk of excommunicating him, tho
they themselves afterward cut his head off. Prynne was summoned to
appear before the Star Chamber; his wonderful book, from which Father
Lebrun stole his, was sentenced to be burned by the common hangman,
and himself to lose his ears.[45] His trial is now extant.

[Footnote 45: William Prynne, lawyer, pamphleteer, and statesman, was
born in 1600, and died in 1669. Prynne in 1648 was released from
imprisonment by the Long Parliament and obtained a seat in the House
of Commons where he took up the cause of the king. Later, in the
Cromwellian period, he was arrested and again imprisoned, but was
released in 1652, and, after the accession of Charles II, was made
keeper of the records in the Tower.]

The Italians are far from attempting to cast a blemish on the opera,
or to excommunicate Sigñor Senesino or Signora Cuzzoni. With regard to
myself, I could presume to wish that the magistrates would suppress I
know not what contemptible pieces written against the stage. For when
the English and Italians hear that we brand with the greatest mark of
infamy an art in which we excel; that we excommunicate persons who
receive salaries from the king; that we condemn as impious a spectacle
exhibited in convents and monasteries; that we dishonor sports in
which Louis XIV and Louis XV performed as actors; that we give the
title of the devil's works to pieces which are received by magistrates
of the most severe character, and represented before a virtuous queen;
when, I say, foreigners are told of this insolent conduct, this
contempt for the royal authority, and this Gothic rusticity which some
presume to call Christian severity, what idea must they entertain of
our nation? And how will it be possible for them to conceive, either
that our laws give a sanction to an art which is declared infamous, or
that some persons dare to stamp with infamy an art which receives a
sanction from the laws, is rewarded by kings, cultivated and
encouraged by the greatest men, and admired by whole nations? And that
Father Lebrun's impertinent libel against the stage is seen in a
bookseller's shop, standing the very next to the immortal labors of
Racine, of Corneille, of Molière, etc.?


     Born in Geneva in 1712, died near Paris in 1778; his father
     a mender of watches and teacher of dancing; lived from hand
     to mouth until he was thirty-eight; achieved his first
     literary reputation from a prize competition in 1749;
     published "Le Devin du Village" in 1752, "La Nouvelle
     Hèloise" in 1761, "Le Contrat Social" in 1762, "Emile" in
     1762; the latter work led to his exile from France for five
     years, during which he lived in Switzerland and England; his
     "Confessions" published after his death in 1782; was the
     father of five illegitimate children, each of whom he sent
     to a foundling asylum.



I will confess that the majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with
admiration, as the purity of the Gospel hath its influence on my
heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers with all their pomp of
diction; how mean, how contemptible are they compared with the
Scriptures! Is it possible that a book, at once so simple and sublime,
should be merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred
personage, whose history it contains, should be himself a mere man? Do
we find that He assumed the tone of an enthusiast or ambitious
sectary? What sweetness, what purity in His manner! What an affecting
gracefulness in His delivery! What sublimity in His maxims! what
profound wisdom in His discourses? What presence of mind, what
subtlety, what truth in His replies! How great the command over His
passions! Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live,
and so die, without weakness, and without ostentation? When Plato
described his imaginary good man loaded with all the shame of guilt,
yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he describes exactly the
character of Jesus Christ: the resemblance was so striking that all
the Fathers perceived it.

What prepossession, what blindness must it be to compare the son of
Sophronicus to the son of Mary! What an infinite disproportion there
is between them! Socrates dying without pain or ignominy, easily
supported his character to the last; and if his death, however easy,
had not crowned his life, it might have been doubted whether Socrates,
with all his wisdom, was anything more than a vain sophist. He
invented, it is said, the theory of morals. Others, however, had
before put them in practise; he had only to say, therefore, what they
had done, and to reduce their examples to precepts. Aristides had been
just before Socrates defined justice; Leonidas had given up his life
for his country before Socrates declared patriotism to be a duty; the
Spartans were a sober people before Socrates recommended sobriety;
before he had even defined virtue Greece abounded in virtuous men.

But where could Jesus learn, among His competitors, that pure and
sublime morality, of which He only hath given us both precept and
example? The greatest wisdom was made known amongst the most bigoted
fanaticism, and the simplicity of the most heroic virtues did honor to
the vilest people on earth. The death of Socrates, peaceably
philosophizing with his friends, appears the most agreeable that could
be wished for; that of Jesus, expiring in the midst of agonizing
pains, abused, insulted, and accused by a whole nation, is the most
horrible that could be feared. Socrates, in receiving the cup of
poison, blest, indeed, the weeping executioner who administered it;
but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating torments, prayed for His
merciless tormentors. Yes, if the life and death of Socrates were
those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus are those of a God. Shall
we suppose the evangelic history a mere fiction? Indeed, my friend, it
bears not the marks of fiction; on the contrary, the history of
Socrates, which nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as
that of Jesus Christ. Such a supposition, in fact, only shifts the
difficulty without obviating it: it is more inconceivable that a
number of persons should agree to write such a history, than that one
only should furnish the subject of it. The Jewish authors were
incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in
the Gospel, the marks of whose truth are so striking and inimitable
that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the



I have thought that the most essential part in the education of
children, and which is seldom regarded in the best families, is to
make them sensible of their inability, weakness, and dependence, and,
as my husband called it, the heavy yoke of that necessity which nature
has imposed upon our species; and that, not only in order to show them
how much is done to alleviate the burden of that yoke, but especially
to instruct them betimes in what rank Providence has placed them, that
they may not presume too far above themselves, or be ignorant of the
reciprocal duties of humanity.

[Footnote 46: From the "New Héloïse." The passage here given is from a
letter supposed to have been written by a person who was visiting
Héloïse. One of the earliest English versions of the "New Héloïse"
appeared in 1784.]

Young people who from their cradle have been brought up in ease and
effeminacy, who have been caressed by every one, indulged in all their
caprices, and have been used to obtain easily everything they desired,
enter upon the world with many impertinent prejudices; of which they
are generally cured by frequent mortifications, affronts, and chagrin.
Now, I would willingly spare my children this kind of education by
giving them, at first, a just notion of things. I had indeed once
resolved to indulge my eldest son in everything he wanted, from a
persuasion that the first impulses of nature must be good and
salutary; but I was not long in discovering that children, conceiving
from such treatment that they have a right to be obeyed, depart from a
state of nature almost as soon as born--contracting our vices from our
example, and theirs by our indiscretion. I saw that if I indulged him
in all his humors they would only increase by such indulgence; that it
was necessary to stop at some point, and that contradiction would be
but the more mortifying as he should be less accustomed to it; but,
that it might be less painful to him, I began to use it upon him by
degrees, and in order to prevent his tears and lamentations I made
every denial irrevocable.

It is true, I contradict him as little as possible, and never without
due consideration. Whatever is given or permitted him is done
unconditionally and at the first instance; and in this we are
indulgent enough; but he never gets anything by importunity, neither
his tears nor entreaties being of any effect. Of this he is now so
well convinced that he makes no use of them; he goes his way on the
first word, and frets himself no more at seeing a box of sweetmeats
taken away from him than at seeing a bird fly away which he would be
glad to catch, there appearing to him the same impossibility of having
the one as the other; and, so far from beating the chairs and tables,
he dares not lift his hand against those who oppose him. In everything
that displeases him he feels the weight of necessity, the effect of
his own weakness.

The great cause of the ill humor of children is the care which is
taken either to quiet or to aggravate them. They will sometimes cry
for an hour for no other reason in the world than because they
perceive we would not have them. So long as we take notice of their
crying, so long have they a reason for continuing to cry; but they
will soon give over of themselves when they see no notice is taken of
them; for, old or young, nobody loves to throw away his trouble. This
is exactly the case with my eldest boy, who was once the most peevish
little bawler, stunning the whole house with his cries; whereas now
you can hardly hear there is a child in the house. He cries, indeed,
when he is in pain; but then it is the voice of nature, which should
never be restrained; and he is again hushed as soon as ever the pain
is over. For this reason I pay great attention to his tears, as I am
certain he never sheds them for nothing; and hence I have gained the
advantage of being certain when he is in pain and when not; when he is
well and when sick; an advantage which is lost with those who cry out
of mere humor and only in order to be appeased. I must confess,
however, that this management is not to be expected from nurses and
governesses; for as nothing is more tiresome than to hear a child cry,
and as these good women think of nothing but the time present, they do
not foresee that by quieting it to-day it will cry the more to-morrow.
But, what is still worse, this indulgence produces an obstinacy which
is of more consequence as the child grows up. The very cause that
makes it a squaller at three years of age will make it stubborn and
refractory at twelve, quarrelsome at twenty, imperious and insolent at
thirty, and insupportable all its life.

In every indulgence granted to children they can easily see our desire
to please them, and therefore they should be taught to suppose we have
reason for refusing or complying with their requests. This is another
advantage gained by making use of authority, rather than persuasion,
on every necessary occasion. For, as it is impossible they can be
always blind to our motives, it is natural for them to imagine that we
have some reason for contradicting them, of which, they are ignorant.
On the contrary, when we have once submitted to their judgment, they
will pretend to judge of everything, and thus become cunning,
deceitful, fruitful in shifts and chicanery, endeavoring to silence
those who are weak enough to argue with them; for when one is obliged
to give them an account of things above their comprehension, they
attribute the most prudent conduct to caprice, because they are
incapable of understanding it. In a word, the only way to render
children docile and capable of reasoning is not to reason with them at
all, but to convince them that it is above their childish capacities;
for they will always suppose the argument in their favor unless you
can give them good cause to think otherwise. They know very well that
we are unwilling to displease them, when they are certain of our
affection; and children are seldom mistaken in this particular:
therefore, if I deny anything to my children, I never reason with
them, I never tell them why I do so and so; but I endeavor, as much as
possible, that they should find it out, and that even after the affair
is over. By these means they are accustomed to think that I never
deny them anything without a sufficient reason, tho they can not
always see it.

On the same principle it is that I never suffer my children to join in
the conversation of grown people, or foolishly imagine themselves on
an equality with them, because they are permitted to prattle. I would
have them give a short and modest answer when they are spoken to, but
never to speak of their own head, or ask impertinent questions of
persons so much older than themselves, to whom they ought to show more

What can a child think of himself when he sees a circle of sensible
people listening to, admiring, and waiting impatiently for his wit,
and breaking out in raptures at every impertinent expression? Such
false applause is enough to turn the head of a grown person; judge,
then, what effect it must have upon that of a child. It is with the
prattle of children as with the prediction in the almanac. It would be
strange if, amidst such a number of idle words, chance did not now and
then jumble some of them into sense. Imagine the effect which such
flattering exclamations must have on a simple mother, already too much
flattered by her own heart. Think not, however, that I am proof
against this error because I expose it. No, I see the fault, and yet
am guilty of it. But, if I sometimes admire the repartees of my son, I
do it at least in secret. He will not learn to become a vain prater by
hearing me applaud him, nor will flatterers have the pleasure, in
making me repeat them, of laughing at my weakness.


     Born in Paris, 1763, died there in 1817; daughter of Necker,
     the Minister of Finance, and Susanne Courchod, the
     sweetheart of Gibbon; married to the Baron of
     Staël-Holstein, the Swedish ambassador to France, in 1786;
     lived in Germany in 1803-04; traveled in Italy in 1805;
     published "Corinne" in 1807; returned to Germany in 1808;
     and finished "De l'Allemagne," the first edition of which
     was destroyed, probably at the instigation of Napoleon, who
     became her bitter enemy; exiled from France by Napoleon in


General Bonaparte made himself as conspicuous by his character and his
intellect as by his victories; and the imagination of the French began
to be touched by him [1797]. His proclamations to the Cisalpine and
Ligurian republics were talked of.... A tone of moderation and of
dignity pervaded his style, which contrasted with the revolutionary
harshness of the civil rulers of France. The warrior spoke in those
days like a lawgiver, while the lawgivers exprest themselves with
soldier-like violence. General Bonaparte had not executed in his army
the decrees against the émigrés. It was said that he loved his wife,
whose character is full of sweetness; it was asserted that he felt
the beauties of Ossian; it was a pleasure to attribute to him all the
generous qualities that form a noble background for extraordinary

[Footnote 47: From "Considerations on the French Revolution." This
work was not published until 1818, three years after the exile of
Napoleon to St. Helena. An English translation appeared in 1819.]

Such at least was my own mood when I saw him for the first time in
Paris. I could find no words with which to reply to him when he came
to me to tell me that he had tried to visit my father at Coppet, and
that he was sorry to have passed through Switzerland without seeing
him. But when I had somewhat recovered from the agitation of
admiration, it was followed by a feeling of very marked fear.
Bonaparte then had no power: he was thought even to be more or less in
danger from the vague suspiciousness of the Directory; so that the
fear he inspired was caused only by the singular effect of his
personality upon almost every one who had intercourse with him. I had
seen men worthy of high respect; I had also seen ferocious men: there
was nothing in the impression Bonaparte produced upon me which could
remind me of men of either type. I soon perceived, on the different
occasions when I met him during his stay in Paris, that his character
could not be defined by the words we are accustomed to make use of: he
was neither kindly nor violent, neither gentle nor cruel, after the
fashion of other men. Such a being, so unlike others, could neither
excite nor feel sympathy: he was more or less than man. His bearing,
his mind, his language have the marks of a foreigner's nature--an
advantage the more in subjugating Frenchmen....

Far from being reassured by seeing Bonaparte often, he always
intimidated me more and more. I felt vaguely that no emotional feeling
could influence him. He regards a human creature as a fact or a thing,
but not as an existence like his own. He feels no more hate than love.
For him there is no one but himself: all other creatures are mere
ciphers. The force of his will consists in the imperturbable
calculations of his egotism: he is an able chess-player whose opponent
is all humankind, whom he intends to checkmate. His success is due as
much to the qualities he lacks as to the talents he possesses. Neither
pity, nor sympathy, nor religion, nor attachment to any idea
whatsoever would have power to turn him from his path. He has the same
devotion to his own interests that a good man has to virtue: if the
object were noble, his persistency would be admirable.

Every time that I heard him talk I was struck by his superiority; it
was of a kind, however, that had no relation to that of men instructed
and cultivated by study, or by society, such as England and France
possess examples of. But his conversation indicated that quick
perception of circumstances the hunter has in pursuing his prey.
Sometimes he related the political and military events of his life in
a very interesting manner; he had even, in narratives that admitted
gaiety, a touch of Italian imagination. Nothing, however, could
conquer my invincible alienation from what I perceived in him. I saw
in his soul a cold and cutting sword, which froze while wounding; I
saw in his mind a profound irony, from which nothing fine or noble
could escape not even his own glory: for he despised the nation whose
suffrages he desired; and no spark of enthusiasm mingled with his
craving to astonish the human race....

His face, thin and pale at that time, was very agreeable: since then
he has gained flesh--which does not become him; for one needs to
believe such a man to be tormented by his own character, at all to
tolerate the sufferings this character causes others. As his stature
is short, and yet his waist very long, he appeared to much greater
advantage on horseback than on foot; in all ways it is war, and war
only, he is fitted for. His manner in society is constrained without
being timid; it is disdainful when he is on his guard, and vulgar when
he is at ease; his air of disdain suits him best, and so he is not
sparing in the use of it. He took pleasure already in the part of
embarrassing people by saying disagreeable things: an art which he has
since made a system of, as of all other methods of subjugating men by
degrading them.


     Born in France in 1768, died in 1848; entered the French
     army in 1786; traveled in America in 1791-92; emigrated to
     England, where in 1797 he published his "Essai Historique,
     Politique et Moral"; returned to France in 1800; converted
     to the Catholic faith through the death of his mother;
     published in 1802 "The Genius of Christianity"; made
     secretary of legation in Rome by Napoleon in 1803, and later
     minister to the republic of Valais, but resigned in 1804
     after the execution of the Duke of Enghien; supported the
     Bourbons in 1814; made a peer of France in 1815; ambassador
     to England in 1822; Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1823;
     published his "Memoirs" in 1849-50.


When, in my journeys among the Indian tribes of Canada, I left
European dwellings, and found myself, for the first time, alone in the
midst of an ocean of forests, having, so to speak, all nature
prostrate at my feet, a strange change took place within me. In the
kind of delirium which seized me, I followed no road; I went from tree
to tree, now to the right, now to the left, saying to myself, "Here
there are no more roads to follow, no more towns, no more narrow
houses, no more presidents, republics, or kings--above all, no more
laws, and no more men." Men! Yes, some good savages, who cared nothing
for me, nor I for them; who, like me, wandered freely wherever their
fancy led them, eating when they felt inclined, sleeping when and
where they pleased. And, in order to see if I were really established
in my original rights, I gave myself up to a thousand acts of
eccentricity, which enraged the tall Dutchman who was my guide, and
who, in his heart, thought I was mad.

[Footnote 48: From the "Essay on Revolutions." While in America,
Chateaubriand visited Canada, traveling inland through the United
States from Niagara to Florida. He arrived home in Paris at the time
of the execution of Louis XVI. His "Essay on Revolutions" was
published five years later.]

Escaped from the tyrannous yoke of society, I understood then the
charms of that independence of nature which far surpasses all the
pleasures of which civilized man can form any idea. I understood why
not one savage has become a European, and why many Europeans have
become savages; why the sublime "Discourse on the Inequality of Rank"
is so little understood by the most part of our philosophers. It is
incredible how small and diminished the nations and their most boasted
institutions appeared in my eyes; it seemed to me as if I saw the
kingdoms of the earth through an inverted spy-glass, or rather that,
being myself grown and elevated, I looked down on the rest of my
degenerate race with the eye of a giant.

You who wish to write about men, go into the deserts, become for a
moment the child of nature, and then--and then only--take up the pen.

Among the innumerable enjoyments of this journey one especially made a
vivid impression on my mind.

I was going then to see the famous cataract of Niagara, and I had
taken my way through the Indian tribes who inhabit the deserts to the
west of the American plantations. My guides were--the sun, a
pocket-compass, and the Dutchman of whom I have spoken: the latter
understood perfectly five dialects of the Huron language. Our train
consisted of two horses, which we let loose in the forests at night,
after fastening a bell to their necks. I was at first a little afraid
of losing them, but my guide reassured me by pointing out that, by a
wonderful instinct, these good animals never wandered out of sight of
our fire.

One evening, when, as we calculated that we were only about eight or
nine leagues from the cataract, we were preparing to dismount before
sunset, in order to build our hut and light our watch-fire after the
Indian fashion, we perceived in the wood the fires of some savages who
were encamped a little lower down on the shores of the same stream as
we were. We went to them. The Dutchman having by my orders asked their
permission for us to pass the night with them, which was granted
immediately, we set to work with our hosts. After having cut down some
branches, planted some stakes, torn off some bark to cover our palace,
and performed some other public offices, each of us attended to his
own affairs. I brought my saddle, which served me well for a pillow
all through my travels; the guide rubbed down the horses; and as to
his night accommodation, since he was not so particular as I am, he
generally made use of the dry trunk of a tree. Work being done, we
seated ourselves in a circle, with our legs crossed like tailors,
around the immense fire, to roast our heads of maize, and to prepare
supper. I had still a flask of brandy, which served to enliven our
savages not a little. They found out that they had some bear hams, and
we began a royal feast.

The family consisted of two women, with infants at their breasts, and
three warriors; two of them might be from forty to forty-five years of
age, altho they appeared much older, and the third was a young man.

The conversation soon became general; that is to say, on my side it
consisted of broken words and many gestures--an expressive language,
which these nations understand remarkably well, and that I had learned
among them. The young man alone preserved an obstinate silence; he
kept his eyes constantly fixt on me. In spite of the black, red, and
blue stripes, cut ears, and the pearl hanging from his nose, with
which he was disfigured, it was easy to see the nobility and
sensibility which animated his countenance. How well I knew he was
inclined not to love me! It seemed to me as if he were reading in his
heart the history of all the wrongs which Europeans have inflicted on
his native country. The two children, quite naked, were asleep at our
feet before the fire; the women took them quietly into their arms and
put them to bed among the skins, with a mother's tenderness so
delightful to witness in these so-called savages: the conversation
died away by degrees, and each fell asleep in the place where he was.

I alone could not close my eyes, hearing on all sides the deep
breathing of my hosts. I raised my head, and, supporting myself on my
elbow, watched by the red light of the expiring fire the Indians
stretched around me and plunged in sleep. I confess that I could
hardly refrain from tears. Brave youth, how your peaceful sleep
affects me! You, who seemed so sensible of the woes of your native
land, you were too great, too high-minded to mistrust the foreigner!
Europeans, what a lesson for you! These same savages whom we have
pursued with fire and sword, to whom our avarice would not leave a
spadeful of earth to cover their corpses in all this world, formerly
their vast patrimony--these same savages receiving their enemy into
their hospitable hut, sharing with him their miserable meal, and,
their couch undisturbed by remorse, sleeping close to him the calm
sleep of the innocent. These virtues are as much above the virtues of
conventional life as the soul of tho man in his natural state is above
that of the man in society.

It was moonlight. Feverish with thinking, I got up and seated myself
at a little distance on a root which ran along the edge of the
streamlet: it was one of those American nights which the pencil of man
can never represent, and the remembrance of which I have a hundred
times recalled with delight.

The moon was at the highest point of the heavens; here and there at
wide, clear intervals twinkled a thousand stars. Sometimes the moon
rested on a group of clouds which looked like the summit of high
mountains crowned with snow: little by little these clouds grew
longer, and rolled out into transparent and waving zones of white
satin, or transformed themselves into light flakes of froth, into
innumerable wandering flocks in the blue plains of the firmament.
Another time the arch of heaven seemed changed into a shore on which
one could discover horizontal rows, parallel lines such as are made by
the regular ebb and flow of the sea; a gust of wind tore this veil
again, and everywhere appeared in the sky great banks of dazzlingly
white down, so soft to the eye that one seemed to feel their softness
and elasticity. The scene on the earth was not less delightful: the
silvery and velvety light of the moon floated silently over the top of
the forests, and at intervals went down among the trees, casting rays
of light even through the deepest shadows. The narrow brook which
flowed at my feet, burying itself from time to time among the thickets
of oak-, willow-, and sugar-trees, and reappearing a little farther
off in the glades, all sparkling with the constellations of the night,
seemed like a ribbon of azure silk spotted with diamond stars and
striped with black bands. On the other side of the river, in a wide,
natural meadow, the moonlight rested quietly on the pastures, where it
was spread out like a sheet. Some birch-trees scattered here and there
over the savannas, sometimes blending, according to the caprice of the
winds, with the background, seemed to surround themselves with a pale
gauze--sometimes rising up again from their chalky foundations, hidden
in the darkness, formed, as it were, islands of floating shadows on an
immovable sea of light. Near all was silence and repose, except the
falling of the leaves, the rough passing of a sudden wind, the rare
and interrupted whooping of the gray owl; but in the distance at
intervals one heard the solemn rolling of the cataract of Niagara,
which in the calm of the night echoed from desert to desert and died
away in solitary forests.

The grandeur, the astonishing melancholy of this picture can not be
exprest in human language: the most beautiful nights in Europe can
give no idea of it. In the midst of our cultivated fields the
imagination vainly seeks to expand itself; everywhere it meets with
the dwellings of man; but in these desert countries the soul delights
in penetrating and losing itself in these eternal forests; it loves to
wander by the light of the moon on the borders of immense lakes, to
hover over the roaring gulf of terrible cataracts, to fall with the
masses of water, and, so to speak, mix and blend itself with a sublime
and savage nature. These enjoyments are too keen; such is our weakness
that exquisite pleasures become griefs, as if nature feared that we
should forget that we are men. Absorbed in my existence, or rather
drawn quite out of myself, having neither feeling nor distinct
thought, but an indescribable I know not what, which was like that
happiness which they say we shall enjoy in the other life, I was all
at once recalled to this. I felt unwell, and perceived that I must not
linger. I returned to our encampment, where, lying down by the
savages, I soon fell into a deep sleep.


     Born in France in 1787, died in 1874; became a professor of
     literature in 1812, and later of modern history at the
     Sorbonne; published his "History of Civilization" in
     1828-1830; elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1830;
     Minister of the Interior, 1830; Ambassador to England, in
     1840; returning, entered the Cabinet where he remained until
     1848, being at one time Prime Minister; after 1848 went into
     retirement and published books frequently until his death.


Voltaire was the first person in France who spoke of Shakespeare's
genius;[50] and altho he spoke of him merely as a barbarian genius,
the French public were of opinion that Voltaire had said too much in
his favor. Indeed, they thought it nothing less than profanation to
apply the words "genius" and "glory" to dramas which they considered
as crude as they were coarse.

[Footnote 49: From "Shakespeare and His Times."]

[Footnote 50: Voltaire's references to Shakespeare were made in his
"Letters on England." From them dates the beginning of French interest
in the English poet.]

At the present day all controversy regarding Shakespeare's genius and
glory has come to an end. No one ventures any longer to dispute them;
but a greater question has arisen--namely, whether Shakespeare's
dramatic system is not far superior to that of Voltaire. This question
I do not presume to decide. I merely say that it is now open for
discussion. We have been led to it by the onward progress of ideas. I
shall endeavor to point out the causes which have brought it about;
but at present I insist merely upon the fact itself, and deduce from
it one simple consequence, that literary criticism has changed its
ground, and can no longer remain restricted to the limits within which
it was formerly confined.

Literature does not escape from the revolutions of the human mind; it
is compelled to follow it in its course, to transport itself beneath
the horizon under which it is conveyed, to gain elevation and
extension with the ideas which occupy its notice, and to consider the
questions which it discusses under the new aspects and novel
circumstances in which they are placed by the new state of thought and
of society....

When we embrace human destiny in all its aspects, and human nature in
all the conditions of man upon earth, we enter into possession of an
exhaustless treasure. It is the peculiar advantage of such a system
that it escapes, by its extent, from the dominion of any particular
genius. We may discover its principles in Shakespeare's works; but he
was not fully acquainted with them, nor did he always respect them. He
should serve as an example, not as a model. Some men, even of superior
talent, have attempted to write plays according to Shakespeare's
taste, without perceiving that they were deficient in one important
qualification for the task; and that was to write as he did, to write
them for our age just as Shakespeare's plays were written for the age
in which he lived. This is an enterprise the difficulties of which
have, hitherto, perhaps, been maturely considered by no one.

We have seen how much art and effort were employed by Shakespeare to
surmount those which are inherent in his system. They are still
greater in our times, and would unveil themselves much more completely
to the spirit of criticism which now accompanies the boldest essays of
genius. It is not only with spectators of more fastidious taste and of
more idle and inattentive imagination that the poet would have to do
who should venture to follow in Shakespeare's footsteps. He would be
called upon to give movement to personages embarrassed in much more
complicated interests, preoccupied with much more various feelings,
and subject to less simple habits of mind and to less decided
tendencies. Neither science, nor reflection, nor the scruples of
conscience, nor the uncertainties of thought frequently encumber
Shakespeare's heroes; doubt is of little use among them, and the
violence of their passions speedily transfers their belief to the side
of the desires, or sets their actions above their belief. Hamlet alone
presents the confused spectacle of a mind formed by the enlightenment
of society in conflict with a position contrary to its laws; and he
needs a supernatural apparition to determine him to act, and a
fortuitous event to accomplish his project. If incessantly placed in
an analogous position, the personages of a tragedy conceived at the
present day according to the romantic system would offer us the same
picture of indecision. Ideas now crowd and intersect each other in the
mind of man, duties multiply in his conscience and obstacles and bonds
around his life. Instead of those electric brains, prompt to
communicate the spark which they have received; instead of those
ardent and simple-minded men, whose projects like Macbeth's "will to
hand"--the world now presents to the poet minds like Hamlet's, deep in
the observation of those inward conflicts which our classical system
has derived from a state of society more advanced than that of the
time in which Shakespeare lived. So many feelings, interests, and
ideas, the necessary consequences of modern civilization, might become
even in their simplest form of expression a troublesome burden, which
it would be difficult to carry through the rapid evolutions and bold
advances of the romantic system.

We must, however, satisfy every demand; success itself requires it.
The reason must be contented at the same time that the imagination is
occupied. The progress of taste, of enlightenment, of society, and of
mankind, must serve not to diminish or disturb our enjoyment, but to
render them worthy of ourselves and capable of supplying the new wants
which we have contracted. Advance without rule and art in the romantic
system, and you will produce melodramas calculated to excite a passing
emotion in the multitude, but in the multitude alone, and for a few
days; just as by dragging along without originality in the classical
system you will satisfy only that cold literary class who are
acquainted with nothing in nature which is more important than the
interests of versification, or more imposing than the three unities.
This is not the work of the poet who is called to power and destined
for glory: he acts upon a grander scale, and can address the superior
intellects as well as the general and simple faculties of all men. It
is doubtless necessary that the crowd should throng to behold those
dramatic works of which you desire to make a national spectacle; but
do not hope to become national, if you do not unite in your
festivities all those classes of persons and minds whose well-arranged
hierarchy raises a nation to its loftiest dignity. Genius is bound to
follow human nature in all its developments; its strength consists in
finding within itself the means for constantly satisfying the whole of
the public. The same task is now imposed upon government and upon
poetry: both should exist for all, and suffice at once for the wants
of the masses and for the requirements of the most exalted minds.

Doubtless stopt in its course by these conditions, the full severity
of which will only be revealed to the talent that can comply with
them, dramatic art, even in England, where under the protection of
Shakespeare it would have liberty to attempt anything, scarcely
ventures at the present day even to try timidly to follow him.
Meanwhile England, France, and the whole of Europe demand of the drama
pleasures and emotions that can no longer be supplied by the inanimate
representation of a world that has ceased to exist. The classical
system had its origin in the life of its time: that time has passed;
its image subsists in brilliant colors in its works, but can no more
be reproduced. Near the monuments of past ages, the monuments of
another age are now beginning to arise. What will be their form? I can
not tell; but the ground upon which their foundations may rest is
already perceptible.

This ground is not the ground of Corneille and Racine, nor is it that
of Shakespeare; it is our own; but Shakespeare's system, as it appears
to me, may furnish the plans according to which genius ought now to
work. This system alone includes all those social conditions and all
those general or diverse feelings, the simultaneous conjunction and
activity of which constitute for us at the present day the spectacle
of human things. Witnesses during thirty years of the greatest
revolutions of society, we shall no longer willingly confine the
movement of our mind within the narrow space of some family event, or
the agitations of a purely individual passion. The nature and destiny
of man have appeared to us under their most striking and their
simplest aspect, in all their extent and in all their variableness. We
require pictures in which this spectacle is reproduced, in which man
is displayed in his completeness and excites our entire sympathy.


     Born in 1790, died in 1869; famous chiefly as a poet, being
     one of the greatest in modern France, but successful as an
     orator and prominent in political life during the troubled
     period of 1848, when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs;
     author of several historical works, among them the "History
     of the Girondists."


He was born a gentleman and of ancient lineage, refugees established
in Provence, but of Italian origin. The progenitors were Tuscan. The
family was one of those whom Florence had cast from her bosom in the
stormy excesses of her liberty, and for which Dante reproaches his
country in such bitter strains for her exiles and prosecutions. The
blood of Machiavelli and the earthquake genius of the Italian
republics were characteristics of all the individuals of this race.
The proportions of their souls exceed the height of their destiny:
vices, passions, virtues are all in excess. The women are all angelic
or perverse, the men sublime or depraved, and their language even is
as emphatic and lofty as their aspirations. There is in their most
familiar correspondence the color and tone of the heroic tongues of

[Footnote 51: From Book I of the "History of the Girondists"--the
translation of R. T. Ryde in Bonn's Library, as revised for this

The ancestors of Mirabeau speak of their domestic affairs as Plutarch
of the quarrels of Marius and Sulla, of Cæsar and Pompey. We perceive
the great men descending to trifling matters. Mirabeau inspired this
domestic majesty and virility in his very cradle. I dwell on these
details, which may seem foreign to this history, but they explain it.
The source of genius is often in ancestry, and the blood of descent is
sometimes the prophecy of destiny.

Mirabeau's education was as rough and rude as the hand of his father,
who was styled the friend of man, but whose restless spirit and
selfish vanity rendered him the persecutor of his wife and the tyrant
of all his family. The only virtue he was taught was honor, for by
that name in those days they dignified that ceremonious demeanor which
was too frequently only the show of probity and the elegance of vice.
Entering the army at an early age, he acquired nothing of military
habits except a love of licentiousness and play. The hand of his
father was constantly extended not to aid him in rising, but to
depress him still lower under the consequences of his errors. His
youth was passed in the prisons of the state, where his passions,
becoming envenomed by solitude, and his intellect rendered more acute
by contact with the irons of his dungeon, his mind lost that modesty
which rarely survives the infamy of precocious punishments.

Released from jail, in order, by his father's command, to attempt to
form a marriage beset with difficulties with Mademoiselle de Marignan,
a rich heiress of one of the greatest families of Provence, he
displayed, like a wrestler, all kinds of stratagems and daring schemes
of policy in the small theater of Aix. Not only cunning, seduction,
and courage, but every resource of his nature was used to succeed, and
he succeeded; but he was hardly married before fresh persecutions
beset him, and the stronghold of Pontarlier gaped to enclose him. A
love, which his "Lettres à Sophie" has rendered immortal, opened its
gates and freed him. He carried off Madame de Monier from her aged
husband. The lovers, happy for some months, took refuge in Holland;
they were seized there, separated and shut up, the one in a convent
and the other in the dungeon of Vincennes.

Love, which, like fire in the veins of the earth, is always detected
in some crevice of man's destiny, lighted up in a single and ardent
blaze all the passions of Mirabeau. In his vengeance it was outraged
love that he appeased; in liberty it was love which he sought and
which delivered him; in study it was love which still illustrated his
path. Entering his cell an obscure man, he quitted it a writer,
orator, statesman, but perverted--ripe for anything, even ready to
sell himself, in order to buy fortune and celebrity. The drama of life
had been conceived in his head; he wanted only the stage, and that was
being prepared for him by time. During the few short years which
elapsed between his leaving the keep of Vincennes and the tribune of
the National Assembly, he employed himself with polemic labors which
would have weighed down another man, but which only kept Mirabeau in
health. Such topics as the bank of Saint Charles, the institutions of
Holland, the books on Prussia, with Beaumarchais (his style and
character), with lengthened pleadings on questions of warfare, the
balance of European power, finance, leading to biting invectives and
wars of words with the ministers of the hour, made scenes that
resembled those in the Roman forum of the days of Clodius and Cicero.
We discern the men of antiquity even in his most modern controversies.
We may hear the first roarings or popular tumults which were so soon
to burst forth, and which his voice was destined to control.

At the first election of Aix, when rejected with contempt by the
noblesse, he cast himself into the arms of the people, certain of
making the balance incline to the side on which he should cast the
weight of his daring and his genius. Marseilles contended with Aix for
the great plebeian; his two elections, the discourses he then
delivered, the addresses he drew up, the energy he employed commanded
the attention of all France. His sonorous phrases became the proverbs
of the Revolution. Comparing himself, in his lofty language, to the
men of antiquity, he placed himself already in the public estimation
in the elevated position he aspired to reach. Men became accustomed to
identify him with the names he cited; he made a loud noise in order to
prepare minds for great commotions; he announced himself proudly to
the nation, in that sublime apostrophe in his address to the
Marseillais: "When the last of the Gracchi expired, he flung dust
toward heaven, and from this dust sprang Marius!--Marius, who was less
great for having exterminated the Cimbri than for having prostrated
in Rome the aristocracy of the nobility."

From the moment of his entry into the National Assembly Mirabeau
filled it: he became the whole people. His gestures were commands; his
movements _coups d'etat_. He placed himself on a level with the
throne, and the nobility itself felt itself subdued by a power
emanating from its own body. The clergy, and the people, with their
desires to reconcile democracy with the church, lent him their
influence, in order to destroy the double aristocracy of the nobility
and bishops.

All that had been built by antiquity and cemented by ages fell in a
few months. Mirabeau alone preserved his presence of mind in the midst
of ruin. His character of tribune then ceased, that of the statesman
began, and in this part he was even greater than in the other. There,
when all else crept and crawled, he acted with firmness, advancing
boldly. The Revolution in his brain was no longer a momentary idea--it
became a settled plan. The philosophy of the eighteenth century,
moderated by the prudence of policy, flowed easily from his lips. His
eloquence, imperative as the law, was now a talent for giving force to
reason. His language lighted and inspired everything; and tho almost
alone at this moment, he had the courage to remain alone. He braved
envy, hatred, murmurs, supported as he was by a strong feeling of his
superiority. He dismissed with disdain the passions which had hitherto
beset him. He would no longer serve them when his cause no longer
needed them. He spoke to men now only in the name of his genius, a
title which was enough to cause obedience to him....

The characteristic of his genius, so well defined, so ill understood,
was less audacity than justness. Beneath the grandeur of his
expression was always to be found unfailing good sense. His very vices
could not repress the clearness, the sincerity of his understanding.
At the foot of the tribune, he was a man devoid of shame or virtue: in
the tribune, he was an honest man. Abandoned to private debauchery,
bought over by foreign powers, sold to the court in order to satisfy
his lavish expenditures, he preserved, amidst all this infamous
traffic of his powers, the incorruptibility of his genius. Of all the
qualities of being the great man of an age, Mirabeau was wanting only
in honesty. The people were not his devotees, but his instruments. His
faith was in posterity. His conscience existed only in his thought.
The fanaticism of his ideas was quite human. The chilling materialism
of his age had crusht in his heart all expansive force, and craving
for imperishable things. His dying words were: "Sprinkle me with
perfumes, crown me with flowers, that I may thus enter upon eternal
sleep." He was especially of his time, and his course bears no impress
of infinity. Neither his character, his acts, nor his thoughts have
the brand of immortality. If he had believed, in God, he might have
died a martyr.


     Born in 1797, died in 1877; settled in Paris in 1821;
     published his "History of the French Revolution" in 1823-27;
     established with Mignet and others the _National_ in 1830,
     in which he contributed largely to the overthrow of the
     Bourbons; supported Louis Philippe; became a member of
     various cabinets, 1832-36; Premier in 1836 and 1840;
     published his "Consulate and Empire" in 1845-62; arrested by
     Louis Napoleon in 1851; led the opposition to the Empire in
     1863; protested against the war of 1870; conducted the
     negotiations with Germany for an armistice; chosen chief of
     the executive power in 1871; negotiated the peace with
     Germany; supprest the Commune; elected President in 1871,
     resigning in 1873.


At last, having reached the summit of a hill, the army suddenly
discovered below them, and at no great distance, an immense city
shining with a thousand colors, surmounted by a host of gilded domes,
resplendent with light; a singular mixture of woods, lakes, cottages,
palaces, churches, bell-towers, a town both Gothic and Byzantine,
realizing all that the Eastern stories relate of the marvels of Asia.
While the monasteries, flanked with towers, formed the girdle of this
great city, in the center, raised on an eminence, was a strong
citadel, a kind of capitol, whence were seen at the same time the
temples of the Deity and the palaces of the emperors, where above
embattled walls rose majestic domes, bearing the emblem that
represents the whole history of Russia and her ambition, the cross
over the reversed crescent. This citadel was the Kremlin, the ancient
abode of the Czars.

[Footnote 52: From Book XLIV of the "History of the Consulate and
Empire." Napoleon's army entered Moscow on September 15, 1812, or
seven days after the battle of Borodino, "the bloodiest battle of the
century," the losses on each side having been about 40,000. Napoleon
had crossed the river Niemen in June of this year with an invading
army of 400,000 men. When he crossed it again in December, after the
burning of Moscow, the French numbered only 20,000, The "Consulate and
Empire" has been translated by D. F. Campbell, F. N. Redhead and N.

The imagination, and the idea of glory, being both excited by this
magical spectacle, the soldiers raised one shout of "Moscow! Moscow!"
Those who had remained at the foot of the hill hastened to reach the
top; for a moment all ranks mingled, and everybody wished to
contemplate the great capital, toward which we had made such an
adventurous march. One could not have enough of this dazzling
spectacle, calculated to awaken so many different feelings. Napoleon
arrived in his turn, and, struck with what he saw, he--who, like the
oldest soldiers in the army, had successively visited Cairo, Memphis,
the Jordan, Milan, Vienna, Berlin, and Madrid--could not help
experiencing deep emotion.

Arrived at this summit of his glory, from which he was to descend with
such a rapid step toward the abyss, he experienced a sort of
intoxication, forgot all the reproaches that his good sense, the only
conscience of conquerors, had addrest to him for two months, and for a
moment believed still that his enterprise was a great and marvelous
one--that to have dared to march from Paris to Smolensk, from Smolensk
to Moscow, was a great and happy rashness, justified by the event.
Certain of his glory, he still believed in his good fortune, and his
lieutenants, as amazed as he, remembering no more their frequent
discontents during this campaign, gave vent to those victorious
demonstrations in which they had not indulged at the termination of
the bloody day of Borodino. This moment of satisfaction, lively and
short, was one of the most deeply felt in his life. Alas! it was to be
the last!

Murat received the injunction to march quickly, to avoid all disorder.
General Durosnel was sent forward to hold communication with the
authorities, and lead them to the conqueror's feet, who desired to
receive their homage and calm their fears. M. Denniée was charged to
go and prepare food and lodging for the army, Murat, galloping at the
head of the light cavalry, arrived, at length, across the faubourg of
Drogomilow, at the bridge of the Moskowa. There he found a Russian
rear-guard, who were retreating, and inquired if there was no officer
there who knew French. A young Russian, who spoke our language
correctly, presented himself immediately before this king, whom
hostile nations knew so well, and asked what he wanted. Murat having
exprest a wish to know which was the commander of this rear-guard, the
young Russian pointed out an officer with white hair, clothed in a
bivouac cloak of long fur. Murat, with his accustomed grace, held out
his hand to the old officer, who took it eagerly. Thus national hatred
was silenced before valor.

Murat asked the commander of the enemy's rear-guard if they knew him.
"Yes," replied the latter, "we have seen enough of you under fire to
know you." Murat seeming struck with, the long fur mantle, which
looked as if it would be very comfortable for a bivouac, the old
officer unfastened it from his shoulders to make him a present of it.
Murat, receiving it with as much courtesy as it was offered, took a
beautiful watch and presented it to the enemy's officer, who received
this present in the same way as his had been accepted. After these
acts of courtesy, the Russian rear-guard filed off rapidly to give
ground to our vanguard. The King of Naples, followed by his staff and
a detachment of cavalry, went down into the streets of Moscow,
traversed alternately the poorest and the richest quarters, rows of
wooden houses crowded together, and a succession of splendid palaces
rising from amidst vast gardens: he found everywhere the most profound
silence. It seemed as if they were penetrating into a dead city, whose
inhabitants had suddenly disappeared.

The first sight of it, surprizing as it was, did not remind us of our
entry into Berlin or Vienna, Nevertheless, the first feeling of terror
experienced by the inhabitants might explain this solitude. Suddenly
some distracted individuals appeared; they were some French people,
belonging to the foreign families settled at Moscow, and asked us in
the name of heaven to save them from the robbers who had become
masters of the town. They were well received, but we tried in vain to
remove their fears. We were conducted to the Kremlin,[53] and had
hardly arrived in sight of these old walls than we were exposed to a
discharge of shot. It came from bandits let loose on Moscow by the
ferocious patriotism of the Count of Rostopchin. These wretched beings
had invaded the sacred citadel, had seized the guns in the arsenal,
and were firing on the French who came to disturb them after their few
hours' reign of anarchy. Several were sabered, and the Kremlin was
relieved of their presence. But on making inquiry we learned that the
whole population had fled, except a small number of strangers, or of
Russians acquainted with the ways of the French and not fearing their
presence. This news vexed the leaders of our vanguard, who were
flattering themselves that they would see a whole population coming
before them, whom they would take pleasure in comforting and filling
with surprize and gratitude. They made haste to restore some order to
the different quarters of the town, and to pursue the thieves, who
thought they should much longer enjoy the prey that the Count of
Rostopchin had given up to them.

[Footnote 53: The Kremlin is a fortified enclosure within the city and
containing the imperial palace, three cathedrals, a monastery, convent
and arsenal. It is surrounded by battlemented walls that date from
1492. Within the palace are rooms of great size, one of them being 68
by 200 feet, with a height of more than 60 feet. Many historic events
in the times of Ivan the Terrible, and Peter the Great, are associated
with the Kremlin. Among its treasures are the Great Bell, coronation
robes and the thrones of the old Persian Shah and toe last emperor of

The next morning, September 15, Napoleon made his entry into Moscow,
at the head of his invincible legions, but he crossed a deserted town,
and for the first time his soldiers, on entering a capital, found none
but themselves to be witnesses of their glory. The impression that
they experienced was sad. Napoleon, arrived at the Kremlin, hastened
to mount the high tower of the great Ivan, and to contemplate from
that height his magnificent conquest, across which the Moskowa was
slowly pursuing its winding course. Thousands of blackbirds, ravens
and crows, as numerous here as the pigeons at Venice, flying around
the tops of the palaces and churches, gave a singular aspect to this
great city, which contrasted strangely with the brightness of its
brilliant colors. A mournful silence, disturbed only by the tramp of
cavalry, had taken the place of life in this city, which till the
evening before had been one of the most busy in the world. In spite of
the sadness of this solitude, Napoleon, on finding Moscow abandoned
like the other Russian towns, thought himself happy nevertheless in
not finding it burned up, and did not despair of softening little by
little the hatred which the presence of his flags had inspired since

The army hoped, then, to enjoy Moscow, to find peace there, and, in
any case, good winter cantonments if the war was prolonged. However,
on the morrow after the day on which the entry had been made, columns
of flame arose from a very large building which contained the spirits
that the government sold on its own account to the people of the
capital. People ran there, without astonishment or terror, for they
attributed the cause of this partial fire to the nature of the
materials contained in this building, or to some imprudence committed
by our soldiers. In fact, the fire was mastered, and we had time to
reassure ourselves.

But all at once the fire burst out at almost the same instant with
extreme violence in a collection of buildings that was called the
Bazaar. This bazaar, situated to the northeast of the Kremlin
comprized the richest shops, those in which were sold the beautiful
stuffs of India and Persia, the rarities of Europe, the colonial
commodities, sugar, coffee, tea, and, lastly, precious wines. In a few
minutes the fire had spread through the bazaar, and the soldiers of
the guard ran in crowds and made the greatest efforts to arrest its
progress. Unhappily, they could not succeed, and soon the immense
riches of this establishment fell a prey to the flames. Eager to
dispute with the fire the possession of these riches, belonging to no
one at this time, and to secure them for themselves, our soldiers, not
having been able to save them, tried to drag out some fragments.

They might be seen coming out of the bazaar, carrying furs, silks,
wines of great value, without any one dreaming of reproaching them for
so doing, for they wronged no one but the fire, the sole master of
these treasures. One might regret it on the score of discipline, but
could not cast a reproach on their honor on that account. Besides,
those who remained of the people set them an example, and took their
large share of these spoils of the commerce of Moscow. Yet it was only
one large building--an extremely rich one, it is true--that was
attacked by the fire, and there was no fear for the town itself. These
first disasters, of little consequence so far, were attributed to a
very natural and very ordinary accident, which might be more easily
explained still, in the bustle of evacuating the town.

During the night of the 15th of September the scene suddenly changed.
As if every misfortune was to fall at once on the old Muscovite
capital, the equinoctial wind arose all at once with the double
violence natural to the season and to level countries where nothing
stops the storm. This wind, blowing at first from the east, carried
the fire westward, along the streets situated between the roads from
Tver and Smolensk, and which are known as the richest and most
beautiful in Moscow, those of Tverskaia, Nikitskaia, and Povorskaia.
In a few hours the fire, having spread fiercely among the wooden
buildings, communicated itself from one to another with frightful
rapidity. Shooting forth in long tongues of flame, it was seen
invading other quarters situated to the west.

Rockets were noticed in the air, and soon wretches were seized
carrying combustibles at the end of long poles. They were taken up;
they were questioned with threats of death, and they revealed the
frightful secret, the order given by the Count of Rostopchin to set
fire to the city of Moscow, as if it had been the smallest village on
the road from Smolensk. This news spread consternation through the
army in an instant. To doubt was no longer possible, after the arrests
made, and the depositions collected from different parts of the town.
Napoleon ordered that in each quarter the corps fixt there should form
military commissions to try, shoot, and hang on gibbets the
incendiaries taken in the act. He ordered likewise that they should
employ all the troops there were in the town to extinguish the fire.
They ran to the pumps, but there were none to be found. This last
circumstance would have left no doubt, if there had remained any, of
the frightful design that delivered Moscow to the flames....

Napoleon, followed by some of his lieutenants, went out of that
Kremlin which the Russian army had not been able to prevent him from
entering, but from which the fire expelled him after four-and-twenty
hours of possession, descended to the quay of Moskowa, found his
horses ready there, and had much difficulty in crossing the town,
which toward the northwest, whither he directed his course, was
already in flames. The wind, which constantly increased in violence,
sometimes caused columns of fire to bend to the ground, and drove
before it torrents of sparks, smoke, and stifling cinders. The
horrible appearance of the sky answered to the no less horrible
spectacle of the earth. The terrified army went out of Moscow. The
divisions of Prince Eugene and Marshal Ney, which had entered the
evening before, turned back again on the roads of Zwenigorod and Saint
Petersburg; those of Marshal Davoust returned by the road of Smolensk,
and, except the guard left around the Kremlin to dispute its
possession with the flames, our troops retired in haste, struck with
horror, before this fire, which, after darting up toward the sky,
seemed to bend down again over them as if it wished to devour them. A
small number of the inhabitants who had remained in Moscow, and had
hidden at first in their houses without daring to come out, now
escaped from them, carrying away what was most dear to them--women
their children, men their infirm parents.


     Born in France in 1799, died in 1850; educated at Tours and
     Paris; became a lawyer's clerk; wrote short stories and
     novels anonymously and became seriously involved in a
     publishing venture; his first novel of merit, "Le Dernier
     Chonan ou la Bretagne," published in 1829, "Eugénie Grandet"
     in 1833, "Père Goriot" in 1835, "César Birotteau" in 1838;
     married in 1850 Madame Hanska of a noble Polish family.



There was something awful and appalling in the sudden apparition of
the Countess. She saw the bed of death by the dim light of the single
candle, and her tears flowed at the sight of her father's passive
features, from which the life has almost ebbed. Bianchon with
thoughtful tact left the room.

[Footnote 54: From the concluding chapter of "Old Goriot," as
translated by Ellen Marriàge.]

"I could not escape soon enough," she said to Rastignac.

The student bowed sadly in reply. Mme. de Restaud took her father's
hand and kissed it.

"Forgive me, father! You used to say that my voice would call you back
from the grave; ah! come back for one moment to bless your penitent
daughter. Do you hear me? Oh! this is fearful! No one on earth will
ever bless me henceforth; every one hates me; no one loves me but you
in all the world. My own children will hate me. Take me with you,
father; I will love you, I will take care of you. He does not hear
me--I am mad--"

She fell on her knees, and gazed wildly at the human wreck before her.

"My cup of misery is full," she said, turning her eyes upon Eugene.
"M. de Trailles has fled, leaving enormous debts behind him, and I
have found out that he was deceiving me. My husband will never forgive
me, and I have left my fortune in his hands. I have lost all my
illusions. Alas! I have forsaken the one heart that loved me (she
pointed to her father as she spoke), and for whom? I have held his
kindness cheap, and slighted his affection; many and many a time I
have given him pain, ungrateful wretch that I am!"

"He knew it," said Rastignac.

Just then Goriot's eyelids unclosed; it was only a muscular
contraction, but the Countess's sudden start of reviving hope was no
less dreadful than the dying eyes.

"Is it possible that he can hear me?" cried the Countess. "No," she
answered herself, and sat down beside the bed. As Mme. De Restaud
seemed to wish to sit by her father, Eugene went down to take a little
food. The boarders were already assembled.

"Well," remarked the painter, as he joined them, "it seems that there
is to be a death-drama up-stairs."

"Charles, I think you might find something less painful to joke
about," said Eugene.

"So we may not laugh here?" returned the painter. "What harm does it
do? Bianchon said that the old man was quite insensible."

"Well, then," said the employé from the Museum, "he will die as he has

"My father is dead!" shrieked the Countess.

The terrible cry brought Sylvie, Rastignac, and Bianchon; Mme. de
Restaud had fainted away, When she recovered they carried her
down-stairs, and put her into the cab that stood waiting at the door.
Eugene sent Therese with her, and bade the maid take the Countess to
Mme. de Nucingen.

Bianchon came down to them.

"Yes, he is dead," he said.

"Come, sit down to dinner, gentlemen," said Mme. Vauquer, "or the soup
will be cold."

The two students sat down together.

"What is the next thing to be done?" Eugene asked of Bianchon.

"I have closed his eyes and composed his limbs," said Bianchon. "When
the certificate has been officially registered at the Mayor's office,
we will sew him in his winding-sheet and bury him somewhere. What do
you think we ought to do?"

"He will not smell at his bread like this any more," said the painter,
mimicking the old man's little trick.

"Oh, hang it all!" cried the tutor, "let old Goriot drop, and let us
have something else for a change. He is a standing dish, and we have
had him with every sauce this hour or more. It is one of the
privileges of the good city of Paris that anybody may be born, or
live, or die there without attracting any attention whatsoever. Let
us profit by the advantages of civilization. There are fifty or sixty
deaths every day; if you have a mind to do it, you can sit down at any
time and wail over whole hecatombs of dead in Paris. Old Goriot has
gone off the hooks, has he? So much the better for him. If you
venerate his memory, keep it to yourselves, and let the rest of us
feed in peace."

"Oh, to be sure," said the widow, "it is all the better for him that
he is dead. It looks as tho he had had trouble enough, poor soul,
while he was alive."

And this was all the funeral oration delivered over him who had been
for Eugene the type and embodiment of fatherhood.

When the hearse came, Eugene had the coffin carried into the house
again, unscrewed the lid, and reverently laid on the old man's breast
the token that recalled the days when Delphine and Anastasie were
innocent little maidens, before they began "to think for themselves,"
as he had moaned out in his agony.

Rastignac and Christophe and the two undertaker's men were the only
followers of the funeral. The Church of Saint-Etienne du Mont was only
a little distance from the Rue Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve. When the coffin
had been deposited in a low, dark, little chapel, the law student
looked around in vain for Goriot's two daughters or their husbands.
Christophe was his only fellow mourner: Christophe, who appeared to
think it was his duty to attend the funeral of the man who had put him
in the way of such handsome tips. As they waited there in the chapel
for the two priests, the chorister, and the beadle, Rastignac grasped
Christophe's hand. He could not utter a word just then.

"Yes, Monsieur Eugene," said Christophe, "he was a good and worthy man
who never said one word louder than another; he never did any one any
harm, and gave nobody any trouble."

The two priests, the chorister, and the beadle came, and said and did
as much as could be expected for seventy francs in an age when
religion can not afford to say prayers for nothing.

The ecclesiastics chanted a psalm, the _Libera nos_ and the _De
profundis_. The whole service lasted about twenty minutes. There was
but one mourning coach, which the priest and chorister agreed to share
with Eugene and Christophe.

"There is no one else to follow us," remarked the priest, "so we may
as well go quickly, and so save time; it is half-past five."

But just as the coffin was put in the hearse, two empty carriages,
with the armorial bearings of the Comte de Restaud and the Baron de
Nucingen, arrived and followed in the procession to Pere-Lachaise. At
six o'clock Goriot's coffin was lowered into the grave, his daughters'
servants standing round the while. The ecclesiastic recited the short
prayer that the students could afford to pay for, and then both priest
and lackeys disappeared at once. The two grave-diggers flung in
several spadefuls of earth, and then stopt and asked Rastignac for
their fee. Eugene felt in vain in his pocket, and was obliged to
borrow five francs of Christophe.



"You will have a good husband, my little girl," said M, Pillerault.
"He has a warm heart and sentiments of honor. He is as straight as a
line, and as good as the child Jesus; he is a king of men, in short."

[Footnote 55: From "The Rise and Fall of César Birotteau," as
translated by Ellen Marriàge.]

Constance put away once and for all the dreams of a brilliant future,
which, like most shop-girls, she had sometimes indulged. She meant to be a
faithful wife and a good mother, and took up this life in accordance with
the religious program of the middle classes. After all, her new ideas were
much better than the dangerous vanities tempting to a youthful Parisian
imagination. Constance's intelligence was a narrow one; she was the typical
small tradesman's wife, who always grumbles a little over her work, who
refuses a thing at the outset, and is vexed when she is taken at her word;
whose restless activity takes all things, from cash-box to kitchen, as its
province, and supervises everything, from the weightiest business
transaction down to almost invisible darns in the household linen. Such a
woman scolds while she loves, and can only conceive ideas of the very
simplest; only the small change, as it were; of thought passes current with
her; she argues about everything, lives in chronic fear of the unknown,
makes constant forecasts, and is always thinking of the future. Her
statuesque yet girlish beauty, her engaging looks, her freshness, prevented
César from thinking of her shortcomings; and moreover, she made up for them
by a woman's sensitive conscientiousness, an excessive thrift, by her
fanatical love of work, and genius as a saleswoman.

Constance was just eighteen years old, and the possessor of eleven
thousand francs. César, in whom love had developed the most unbounded
ambition, bought the perfumery business, and transplanted the Queen of
Roses to a handsome shop near the Place Vêndome. He was only
twenty-one years of age, married to a beautiful and adored wife, and
almost the owner of his establishment, for he had paid three-fourths
of the amount. He saw (how should he have seen otherwise?) the future
in fair colors, which seemed fairer still as he measured his career
from its starting-point.

Roguin (Ragon's notary) drew up the marriage-contract, and gave sage
counsels to the young perfumer; he it was who interfered when the
latter was about to complete the purchase of the business with the
wife's money. "Just keep the money by you, my boy; ready money is
sometimes a handy thing in a business," he had said....

During the first year César instructed his wife in all the ins and
outs of the perfumery business, which she was admirably quick to
grasp; she might have been brought into the world for that sole
purpose, so well did she adapt herself to her customers. The result of
the stock-taking at the end of the year alarmed the ambitious
perfumer. After deducting all expenses, he might perhaps hope, in
twenty years' time, to make the modest sum of a hundred thousand
francs, the price of his felicity. He determined then and there to
find some speedier road to fortune, and by way of a beginning, to be a
manufacturer as well as a retailer.

Acting against his wife's counsel, he took the lease of a shed on some
building land in the Faubourg du Temple, and painted up thereon, in
huge letters, CÉSAR BIROTTEAU'S FACTORY. He enticed a workman from
Grasse, and with him began to manufacture several kinds of soap,
essences, and eau-de-cologne, on the system of half profits. The
partnership only lasted six months, and ended in a loss, which he had
to sustain alone; but Birotteau did not lose heart. He meant to obtain
a result at any price, if it were only to escape a scolding from his
wife; and, indeed, he confest to her afterward that, in those days of
despair, his head used to boil like a pot on the fire, and that many a
time but for his religious principles he would have thrown himself
into the Seine.

One day, deprest by several unsuccessful experiments, he was
sauntering home to dinner along the boulevards (the lounger in Paris
is a man in despair quite as often as a genuine idler), when a book
among a hamperful at six sous apiece caught his attention; his eyes
were attracted by the yellow dusty title-page, Abdeker, so it ran, or
the Art of Preserving Beauty.

Birotteau took up the work. It claimed to be a translation from the
Arabic, but in reality it was a sort of romance written by a
physician in the previous century. César happened to stumble upon a
passage there which treated of perfumes, and with his back against a
tree in the boulevard, he turned the pages over till he reached a
foot-note, wherein the learned author discoursed of the nature of the
dermis and epidermis. The writer showed conclusively that such and
such an unguent or soap often produced an effect exactly opposite to
that intended, and the ointment, or the soap, acted as a tonic upon a
skin that required a lenitive treatment, or vice versa.

Birotteau saw a fortune in the book, and bought it. Yet, feeling
little confidence in his unaided lights, he went to Vauquelin, the
celebrated chemist, and in all simplicity asked him how to compose a
double cosmetic which should produce the required effect upon the
human epidermis in either case. The really learned--men so truly great
in this sense that they can never receive in their lifetime all the
fame that should reward vast labors like theirs--are almost always
helpful and kindly to the poor in intellect. So it was with Vauquelin.
He came to the assistance of the perfumer, gave him a formula for a
paste to whiten the hands, and allowed him to style himself its
inventor. It was this cosmetic that Birotteau called the Superfine
Pate des Sultanes. The more thoroughly to accomplish his purpose, he
used the recipe for the paste for a wash for the complexion, which he
called the Carminative Toilet Lotion....

César Birotteau might be a Royalist, but public opinion at that time
was in his favor; and tho he had scarcely a hundred thousand francs
beside his business, was looked upon as a very wealthy man. His
steady-going ways, his punctuality, his habit of paying ready money
for everything, of never discounting bills, while he would take paper
to oblige a customer of whom he was sure--all these things, together
with his readiness to oblige, had brought him a great reputation. And
not only so; he had really made a good deal of money, but the building
of his factories had absorbed most of it, and he paid nearly twenty
thousand francs a year in rent. The education of their only daughter,
whom Constance and César both idolized, had been a heavy expense.
Neither the husband nor the wife thought of money where Cesarine's
pleasure was concerned, and they had never brought themselves to part
with her.

Imagine the delight of the poor peasant parvenu when he heard his
charming Cesarine play a sonata by Steibelt or sing a ballad; when he
saw her writing French correctly, or making sepia drawings of
landscapes, or listened while she read aloud from the Racines, father
and son, and explained the beauties of the poetry. What happiness it
was for him to live again in this fair, innocent flower, not yet
plucked from the parent stem; this angel, over whose growing graces
and earliest development they had watched with such passionate
tenderness; this only child, incapable of despising her father or of
laughing at his want of education, so much was she his little

When César came to Paris, he had known how to read, write, and cipher,
and at that point his education had been arrested. There had been no
opportunity in his hard-working life of acquiring new ideas and
information beyond the perfumery trade. He had spent his time among
folk to whom science and literature were matters of indifference, and
whose knowledge was of a limited and special kind; he himself, having
no time to spare for loftier studies, became perforce a practical man.
He adopted (how should he have done otherwise?) the language, errors,
and opinions of the Parisian tradesman who admires Molière, Voltaire,
and Rousseau on hearsay, and buys their works, but never opens them;
who will have it that the proper way to pronounce "armoire" is
"ormoire"; "or" means gold, and "moire" means silk, and women's
dresses used almost always to be made of silk, and in their cupboards
they locked up silk and gold--therefore, "ormoire" is right and
"armoire" is an innovation. Potier, Talma, Mlle. Mars, and other
actors and actresses were millionaires ten times over, and did not
live like ordinary mortals: the great tragedian lived on raw meat, and
Mlle. Mars would have a fricassee of pearls now and then--an idea she
had taken from some celebrated Egyptian actress. As to the Emperor,
his waistcoat pockets were lined with leather, so that he could take a
handful of snuff at a time; he used to ride at full gallop up the
staircase of the orangery at Versailles. Authors and artists ended in
the workhouse, the natural close to their eccentric careers; they
were, every one of them, atheists into the bargain, so that you had to
be very careful not to admit anybody of that sort into your house,
Joseph Lebas used to advert with horror to the story of his
sister-in-law Augustine, who married the artist Sommervieux.
Astronomers lived on spiders. These bright examples of the attitude of
the bourgeois mind toward philology, the drama, politics, and science
will throw light upon its breadth of view and powers of

César's wife, who had learned to know her husband's character during
the early years of their marriage, led a life of perpetual terror; she
represented sound sense and foresight in the partnership; she was
doubt, opposition, and fear, while César represented boldness,
ambition, activity, the element of chance and undreamed-of good luck.
In spite of appearances, the merchant was the weaker vessel, and it
was the wife who really had the patience and courage. So it had come
to pass that a timid mediocrity, without education, knowledge, or
strength of character, a being who could in nowise have succeeded in
the world's most slippery places, was taken for a remarkable man, a
man of spirit and resolution, thanks to his instinctive uprightness
and sense of justice, to the goodness of a truly Christian soul, and
love for the one woman who had been his.


     Born in 1799, died in 1863; entered the army in 1815,
     becoming a captain in 1823; published a volume of verse in
     1822; "Cinq-Mars," his famous historical novel, published in
     1826; made translations from Shakespeare and wrote original
     historical dramas; admitted to the French Academy in 1845.


The latter [Cardinal de Richelieu], attired in all the pomp of a
cardinal, leaning upon two young pages, and followed by his captain of
the guards and more than five hundred gentlemen attached to his house,
advanced toward the King slowly and stopping at each step, as if
forcibly arrested by his sufferings, but in reality to observe the
faces before him. A glance sufficed.

[Footnote 56: From "Cinq-Mars; or the Conspiracy Under Louis XIII."
Translated by William C. Hazlitt. The Marquis de Cinq-Mars was a
favorite of Louis XIII, grand-master of the wardrobe and the horse,
and aspired to a seat in the royal council and to the hand of Maria de
Gonzaga, Princess of Mantua. Having been refused by Richelieu a place
in the council, he formed a conspiracy against the cardinal and
entered into a treasonable correspondence with Spain. The conspiracy
being discovered, he was beheaded at Lyons in 1642. Bulwer's popular
play "Richelieu," tho founded on this episode, diverges radically in
several details.]

His suite remained at the entrance of the royal tent; of all those
within it not one was bold enough to salute him, or to look toward
him. Even La Vallette feigned to be deeply occupied in a conversation
with Montresor; and the King, who desired to give him an unfavorable
reception, greeted him lightly and continued a conversation aside in a
low voice with the Duc de Beaufort.

The cardinal was therefore forced, after the first salute, to stop and
pass to the side of the crowd of courtiers, as tho he wished to mix
with them, but in reality to test them more closely; they all recoiled
as at the sight of a leper. Fabert alone advanced toward him with the
frank and blunt air habitual with him, and making use of the terms
belonging to his profession, said:

"Well, my Lord, you make a breach in the midst of them like a
cannon-ball; I ask pardon in their name."

"And you stand firm before me as before the enemy," said the cardinal;
"you will have no cause to regret it in the end, my dear Fabert."

Mazarin also approached the cardinal, but with caution, and giving to
his flexible features an expression of profound sadness, made him five
or six very low bows, turning his back to the group gathered round the
King, so that in the latter quarter they might be taken for those cold
and hasty salutations which are made to a person one desires to be rid
of, and, on the part of the Duc, for tokens of respect blended with a
discreet and silent sorrow.

The minister, ever calm, smiled in disdain; and assuming that firm
look and that air of grandeur which he wore so perfectly in the hour
of danger, he again leaned upon his pages, and without waiting for a
word or glance from his sovereign, he suddenly resolved upon his line
of conduct, and walked directly toward him, traversing the whole
length of the tent. No one had lost sight of him, altho affecting not
to observe him. Every one now became silent, even those who were
talking to the King; all the courtiers bent forward to see and to

Louis XIII turned round in astonishment, and all presence of mind
totally failing him, remained motionless, and waited with an icy
glance--his sole force, but a _vis inertiæ_ very effectual in a

The cardinal, on coming close to the prince, did not bow; and without
changing his position, his eyes lowered and his hands placed on the
shoulders of the two boys half-bending, he said:

"Sire, I come to implore your Majesty at length to grant me the
retirement for which I have long sighed. My health is failing; I feel
that my life will soon be ended. Eternity approaches me, and before
rendering an account to the eternal King, I would render one to my
temporal sovereign. It is eighteen years, Sire, since you placed in my
hands a weak and divided kingdom; I return it to you united and
powerful. Your enemies are overthrown and humiliated. My work is
accomplished. I ask your Majesty's permission to retire to Citeaux, of
which I am abbot, and where I may end my days in prayer and

The King, irritated with some haughty expressions in this address,
showed none of the signs of weakness which the cardinal had expected,
and which he had always seen in him when he had threatened to resign
the management of affairs. On the contrary, feeling that he had the
eyes of the whole court upon him, Louis looked upon him with the air
of a king, and coldly replied:

"We thank you, then, for your services, M. le Cardinal, and wish you
the repose you desire."

Richelieu was deeply angered, but no indication of his rage appeared
upon his countenance. "Such was the coldness with which you left
Montmorency to die," he said to himself; "but you shall not escape me
thus." He then continued aloud, bowing at the same time:

"The only recompense I ask for my services is that your Majesty will
deign to accept from me, as a gift, the Palais-Cardinal I have already
erected at my own cost in Paris."

The King, astonished, bowed in token of assent. A murmur of surprize
for a moment agitated the attentive court.

"I also petition your Majesty to grant me the revocation of an act of
rigor, which I solicited (I publicly confess it), and which I perhaps
regarded as too beneficial to the repose of the state. Yes, when I was
of this world, I was too forgetful of my old sentiments of personal
respect and attachment, in my eagerness for the public welfare; now
that I already enjoy the enlightenment of solitude, I see that I have
been wrong, and I repent."

The attention of the spectators was redoubled, and the uneasiness of
the King became visible.

"Yes, there is one person, Sire, whom I have always loved, despite her
wrongs toward you, and the banishment which the affairs of the kingdom
forced me to procure for her; a person to whom I have owed much, and
who should be very dear to you, notwithstanding her armed attempts
against you; a person, in a word, whom I implore you to recall from
exile--the Queen Marie de Medicis, your mother."

The King sent forth an involuntary exclamation, so far was he from
expecting to hear that name. A represt agitation suddenly appeared
upon every face. All awaited in silence the King's reply. Louis XIII
looked for a long time at his old minister without speaking, and this
look decided the fate of France; in that instant he called to mind all
the indefatigable services of Richelieu, his unbounded devotion, his
wonderful capacity, and was surprized at himself for having wished to
part with him. He felt deeply affected at this request, which hunted
out, as it were, the exact cause of his anger at the bottom of his
heart, rooted it up, and took from his hands the only weapon he had
against his old servant; filial love brought the words of pardon to
his lips and tears into his eyes. Delighted to grant what he desired
most of all things in the world, he extended his hand to the Duc with
all the nobleness and kindliness of a Bourbon. The cardinal bowed, and
respectfully kissed it; and his heart, which should have burst with
remorse, only swelled in the joy of a haughty triumph.

The prince, much moved, abandoning his hand to him, turned gracefully
toward his court and said with a tremulous voice:

"We often deceive ourselves, gentlemen, and especially in our
knowledge of so great a politician as this; I hope he will never leave
us, since his heart is as good as his head."

Cardinal de la Vallette on the instant seized the arm of the King's
mantle, and kissed it with all the ardor of a lover, and the young
Mazarin did much the same with Richelieu himself, assuming with
admirable Italian suppleness an expression radiant with joyful
emotion. Two streams of flatterers hastened, one toward the King, the
other toward the minister; the former group, not less adroit than the
second, altho less direct, addrest to the prince thanks which could be
heard by the minister, and burned at the feet of the one incense which
was destined for the other. As for Richelieu, bestowing a bow on the
right and a smile on the left, he stept forward, and stood on the
right hand of the King, as his natural place.


     Born in 1802, died in 1885; his childhood spent partly in
     Corsica, Italy and Spain, his father an officer in
     Napoleon's army; educated at home by a priest and at a
     school in Paris; published in 1816 his first tragedy,
     "Irtamème," followed by other plays and poems; his most
     notable work down to 1859 being "La Legende"; his writings
     extremely numerous, other titles being "L'Art d'être
     Grand-Père" 1877, "Notre Dame de Paris" 1831, "Napoleon le
     Petit" 1852, "Les Misérables" 1862, "Les Travailleurs de la
     Mer" 1866, "L'Homme Qui Rit" 1869, "Quatrevingt-treize"
     1874, "History of a Crime" 1877; elected to the French
     Academy in 1841; exiled from France in 1851, living first in
     Belgium, then in Jersey and Guernsey; returned to France
     after the fall of the Empire in 1870; elected a life member
     of the Senate in 1876.


The battle of Waterloo is an enigma as obscure for those who gained it
as for him who lost it. To Napoleon it is a panic; Blucher sees
nothing in it but fire; Wellington does not understand it at all. Look
at the reports: the bulletins are confused; the commentaries are
entangled; the latter stammer, the former stutter. Jomini divides the
battle of Waterloo into four moments; Muffling cuts it into three
acts; Charras, altho we do not entirely agree with him in all his
appreciations, has alone caught with his haughty eye the
characteristic lineaments of this catastrophe of human genius
contending with divine chance. All the other historians suffer from a
certain bedazzlement in which they grope about. It was a flashing day,
in truth the overthrow of the military monarchy which, to the great
stupor of the kings, has dragged down all kingdoms, the downfall of
strength and the rout of war.

[Footnote 57: Chapter XV of "Cosette," in "Les Misérables."
Translation of Lascelles Wraxall.]

In this event, which bears the stamp of superhuman necessity, men play
but a small part; but if we take Waterloo from Wellington and Blucher,
does that deprive England and Germany of anything? No. Neither
illustrious England nor august Germany is in question in the problem
of Waterloo, for, thank heaven! nations are great without the mournful
achievements of the sword. Neither Germany, nor England, nor France is
held in a scabbard; at this day when Waterloo is only a clash of
sabers, Germany has Goethe above Blucher, and England Byron above
Wellington. A mighty dawn of ideas is peculiar to our age; and in this
dawn England and Germany have their own magnificent flash. They are
majestic because they think; the high level they bring to civilization
is intrinsic to them; it comes from themselves, and not from an
accident. Any aggrandizement the nineteenth century may have can not
boast of Waterloo as its fountainhead; for only barbarous nations grow
suddenly after a victory--it is the transient vanity of torrents
swollen by a storm. Civilized nations, especially at the present day,
are not elevated or debased by the good or evil fortune of a captain,
and their specific weight in the human family results from something
more than a battle. Their honor, dignity, enlightenment, and genius
are not numbers which those gamblers, heroes, and conquerors can stake
in the lottery of battles. Very often a battle lost is progress
gained, and less of glory, more of liberty. The drummer is silent and
reason speaks; it is the game of who loses wins. Let us, then, speak
of Waterloo coldly from both sides, and render to chance the things
that belong to chance, and to God what is God's. What is Waterloo--a
victory? No; a quine in the lottery, won by Europe, and paid by
France; it was hardly worth while erecting a lion for it.

Waterloo, by the way, is the strangest encounter recorded in history;
Napoleon and Wellington are not enemies, but contraries. Never did
God, who delights in antitheses, produce a more striking contrast, or
a more extraordinary confrontation. On one side precision, foresight,
geometry, prudence, a retreat assured, reserves prepared, an obstinate
coolness, an imperturbable method, strategy profiting by the ground,
tactics balancing battalions, carnage measured by a plumb-line, war
regulated watch in hand, nothing left voluntarily to accident, old
classic courage and absolute correctness. On the other side we have
intuition, divination, military strangeness, superhuman instinct, a
flashing glance; something that gazes like the eagle and strikes like
lightning, all the mysteries of a profound mind, association with
destiny; the river, the plain, the forest, and the hill summoned, and,
to some extent, compelled to obey, the despot going so far as even to
tyrannize over the battle-field; faith in a star, blended with
strategic science, heightening, but troubling it. Wellington was the
Barême of war, Napoleon was its Michelangelo, and this true genius was
conquered by calculation. On both sides somebody was expected; and it
was the exact calculator who succeeded. Napoleon waited for Grouchy,
who did not come; Wellington waited for Blucher, and he came.

Wellington is the classical war taking its revenge; Bonaparte, in his
dawn, had met it in Italy, and superbly defeated it--the old owl fled
before the young vulture. The old tactics had been not only
overthrown, but scandalized. Who was this Corsican of six-and-twenty
years of age? What meant this splendid ignoramus, who, having
everything against him, nothing for him, without provisions,
ammunition, guns, shoes, almost without an army, with a handful of men
against masses, dashed at allied Europe, and absurdly gained
impossible victories? Who was this new comet of war who possest the
effrontery of a planet? The academic military school excommunicated
him, while bolting, and hence arose an implacable rancor of the old
Cæsarism against the new, of the old saber against the flashing sword,
and of the chessboard against genius. On June 18th, 1815, this rancor
got the best; and beneath Lodi, Montebello, Montenotte, Mantua,
Marengo, and Arcola, it wrote--Waterloo. It was a triumph of
mediocrity, sweet to majorities, and destiny consented to this irony.
In his decline, Napoleon found a young Suvarov before him--in fact, it
is only necessary to blanch Wellington's hair in order to have a
Suvarov. Waterloo is a battle of the first class, gained by a captain
of the second.

What must be admired in the battle of Waterloo is England, the English
firmness, the English resolution, the English blood, and what England
had really superb in it, is (without offense) herself; it is not her
captain, but her army. Wellington, strangely ungrateful, declares in
his dispatch to Lord Bathurst that his army, the one which fought on
June 18th, 1815, was a "detestable army." What does the gloomy pile of
bones buried in the trenches of Waterloo think of this? England has
been too modest to herself in her treatment of Wellington, for making
him so great is making herself small. Wellington is merely a hero,
like any other man. The Scotch Grays, the Life Guards, Maitland and
Mitchell's regiments, Pack and Kempt's infantry, Ponsonby and
Somerset's cavalry, the Highlanders playing the bagpipes under the
shower of canister, Ryland's battalions, the fresh recruits who could
hardly manage a musket, and yet held their ground against the old
bands of Essling and Rivoli--all this is grand. Wellington was
tenacious; that was his merit, and we do not deny it to him, but the
lowest of his privates and his troopers was quite as solid as he, and
the iron soldier is as good as the iron duke. For our part, all our
glorification is offered to the English soldier, the English army, the
English nation; and if there must be a trophy, it is to England that
this trophy is owing. The Waterloo column would be more just, if,
instead of the figure of a man, it raised to the clouds the statue of
a people.

But this great England will be irritated by what we are writing here;
for she still has feudal illusions, after her 1688 and the French
1789. This people believes in inheritance and hierarchy, and while no
other excels it in power and glory, it esteems itself as a nation and
not as a people. As a people, it readily subordinates itself, and
takes a lord as its head; the workman lets himself be despised; the
soldier puts up with flogging, It will be remembered that, at the
battle of Inkerman, a sergeant who, as it appears, saved the British
army, could not be mentioned by Lord Raglan, because the military
hierarchy does not allow any hero below the rank of officer to be
mentioned in dispatches. What we admire before all, in an encounter
like Waterloo, is the prodigious skill of chance. The night raid, the
wall of Hougomont, the hollow way of Ohain, Grouchy deaf to the
cannon, Napoleon's guide deceiving him, Bulow's guide enlightening
him--all this cataclysm is marvelously managed.

Altogether, we will assert, there is more of a massacre than of a
battle in Waterloo. Waterloo, of all pitched battles, is the one which
had the smallest front for such a number of combatants. Napoleon's
three-quarters of a league. Wellington's half a league, and
seventy-two thousand combatants on either side. From this density came
the carnage. The following calculation has been made and proportion
established: loss of men, at Austerlitz, French, fourteen per cent.;
Russian, thirty per cent.; Austrian, forty-four per cent.: at Wagram,
French, thirteen per cent.; Austrian, fourteen per cent.: at Moscow,
French, thirty-seven per cent.; Russian, forty-four per cent.: at
Bautzen, French, thirteen per cent.; Russian and Prussian, fourteen
per cent.: at Waterloo, French, fifty-six per cent.; allies,
thirty-one per cent.--total for Waterloo, forty-one per cent., or out
of one hundred and forty-four thousand fighting men, sixty thousand

The field of Waterloo has at the present day that calmness which
belongs to the earth, and resembles all plains; but at night, a sort
of visionary mist rises from it, and if any traveler walk about it,
and listen and dream, like Virgil on the mournful plain of Philippi,
the hallucination of the catastrophe seizes upon him. The frightful
June 18th lives again, the false monumental hill is leveled, the
wondrous lion is dissipated, the battle-field resumes its reality,
lines of infantry undulate on the plain; furious galloping crosses the
horizon; the startled dreamer sees the flash of sabers, the sparkle of
bayonets, the red light of shells, the monstrous collision of
thunderbolts; he hears, like a death groan from the tomb, the vague
clamor of the fantom battle. These shadows are grenadiers; these
flashes are cuirassiers; this skeleton is Napoleon; this skeleton is
Wellington; all this is nonexistent, and yet still combats, and the
ravines are stained purple, and the trees rustle, and there is fury
even in the clouds and in the darkness, while all the stern heights,
Mont St. Jean, Hougomont, Frischemont, Papelotte, and Plancenoit, seem
confusedly crowned by hosts of specters exterminating one another.



The Paris of three hundred and fifty years ago, the Paris of the
fifteenth century, was already a gigantic city. We modern Parisians in
general are much mistaken in regard to the ground which we imagine it
has gained. Since the time of Louis XI Paris has not increased above
one-third; and certes it has lost much more in beauty than it has
acquired in magnitude.

[Footnote 58: From Book III, Chapter II, of "The Hunchback of Notre
Dame." From an anonymous, non-copyright translation published by A. L.
Burt Company.]

The infant Paris was born, as everybody knows, in that ancient island
in the shape of a cradle, which is now called the City. The banks of
that island were its first enclosure; the Seine was its first ditch.
For several centuries Paris was confined to the island, having two
bridges, the one on the north, the other on the south, the two
_têtes-de-ponts_, which were at once its gates and its fortresses--the
Grand Chatelet on the right bank and the Petit Chatelet on the left.
In process of time, under the kings of the first dynasty, finding
herself straitened in her island and unable to turn herself about, she
crossed the water. A first enclosure of walls and towers then began to
encroach upon either bank of the Seine beyond the two Chatelets. Of
this ancient enclosure some vestiges were still remaining in the past
century; nothing is now left of it but the memory and here and there
a tradition. By degrees the flood of houses, always propelled from the
heart to the extremities, wore away and overflowed this enclosure.

Philip Augustus surrounded Paris with new ramparts. He imprisoned the
city within a circular chain of large, lofty, and massive towers. For
more than a century the houses, crowding closer and closer, raised
their level in this basin, like water in a reservoir. They began to
grow higher; story was piled upon story; they shot up like any
comprest liquid, and each tried to lift its head above its neighbors
in order to obtain a little fresh air. The streets became deeper and
deeper, and narrower and narrower; every vacant place was covered and
disappeared. The houses at length overleapt the wall of Philip
Augustus, and merrily scattered themselves at random over the plain,
like prisoners who had made their escape. There they sat themselves
down at their ease and carved themselves gardens out of the fields. So
early as 1367 the suburbs of the city had spread so far as to need a
fresh enclosure, especially on the right bank; this was built for it
by Charles V. But a place like Paris is perpetually increasing. It is
such cities alone that become capitals of countries. They are
reservoirs into which all the geographical, political, moral, and
intellectual channels of a country, all the natural inclined planes of
its population discharge themselves; wells of civilization, if we may
be allowed the expression, and drains also, where all that constitutes
the sap, the life, the soul of the nation, is incessantly collecting
and filtering, drop by drop, age by age.

The enclosure of Charles V consequently shared the same fate as that
of Philip Augustus. So early as the conclusion of the fifteenth
century it was overtaken, passed, and the suburbs kept traveling
onward. In the sixteenth it seemed very visibly receding more and more
into the ancient city, so rapidly did the new town thicken on the
other side of it. Thus, so far back as the fifteenth century, to come
down no further, Paris had already worn out the three concentric
circles of walls which, from the time of Julian the Apostate, lay in
embryo, if I may be allowed the expression, in the Grand and Petit
Chatelets. The mighty city had successively burst its four mural
belts, like a growing boy bursting the garments made for him a year
ago. Under Louis XI there were still to be seen ruined towers of the
ancient enclosures, rising at intervals above the sea of houses, like
the tops of hills from amid an inundation, like the archipelagos of
old Paris submerged beneath the new....

Each of these great divisions of Paris was, as we have observed, a
city, but a city too special to be complete, a city which could not do
without the two others. Thus they had three totally different aspects.
The City, properly so called, abounded in churches; the Ville
contained the palaces; and the University, the colleges. Setting aside
secondary jurisdictions, we may assume generally that the island was
under the bishop, the right bank under the provost of the merchants,
the left under the rector of the University, and the whole under the
provost of Paris, a royal and not a municipal officer. The City had
the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Ville the Louvre and the Hotel de
Ville, and the University the Sorbonne. The Ville contained the
Halles, the City the Hotel Dieu, and the University the Pré aux
Clercs. For offenses committed by the students on the left bank, in
their Pré aux Clercs, they were tried at the Palace of Justice in the
island, and punished on the right bank at Montfaucon, unless the
rector, finding the University strong and the king weak, chose to
interfere; for it was a privilege of the scholars to be hung in their
own quarter.

Most of these privileges, be it remarked by the way, and some of them
were more valuable than that just mentioned, had been extorted from
different sovereigns by riots and insurrections. This is the
invariable course--the king never grants any boon but what is wrung
from him by the people.

In the fifteenth century that part of the Seine comprehended within
the enclosure of Paris contained five islands: the Ile Louviers, then
covered with trees and now with timber, the Ile aux Vaches, and the
Ile Notre Dame, both uninhabited and belonging to the bishop [in the
seventeenth century these two islands were converted into one, which
has been built upon and is now called the Isle of St. Louis]; lastly
the City, and at its point the islet of the Passeur aux Vaches, since
buried under the platform of the Pont Neuf. The City had at that time
five bridges: three on the right--the bridge of Notre Dame and the
Pont au Change of stone, and the Pont aux Meuniers of wood; two on the
left--the Petit Pont of stone, and the Pont St. Michel of wood; all of
them covered with houses. The university had six gates, built by
Philip Augustus; these were, setting out from the Tournelle, the Gate
of St. Victor, the Gate of Bordelle, the Papal Gate, and the gates of
St. Jacques, St. Michel, and St. Germain. The Ville had six gates,
built by Charles V, that is to say, beginning from the Tower of Billy,
the gates of St. Antoine, the Temple, St. Martin, St. Denis,
Montmartre, and St. Honoré. All these gates were strong, and handsome,
too, a circumstance which does not detract from strength. A wide, deep
ditch, supplied by the Seine with water, which was swollen by the
floods of winter to a running stream, encircled the foot of the wall
all round Paris. At night the gates were closed, the river was barred
at the two extremities of the city by stout iron chains, and Paris
slept in quiet.

A bird's-eye view of these three towns, the City, the University, and
the Ville, exhibited to the eye an inextricable knot of streets
strangely jumbled together. It was apparent, however, at first sight
that these three fragments of a city formed but a single body. The
spectator perceived immediately two long parallel streets, without
break or interruption, crossing the three cities, nearly in a right
line, from one end to the other, from south to north, perpendicularly
to the Seine, incessantly pouring the people of the one into the
other, connecting, blending them together and converting the three
into one. The first of these streets ran from the Gate of St. Jacques
to the Gate of St. Martin; it was called in the University the street
of St. Jacques, in the City Rue de la Juiverie, and in the Ville, the
street of St. Martin; it crossed the river twice by the name of Petit
Pont and Pont Notre Dame. The second, named Rue de la Harpe on the
left bank, Rue de la Barillerie in the island, Rue St. Denis on the
right bank, Pont St. Michel over one arm of the Seine, and Pont au
Change over the other, Gate of St. Martin; it was called in the
University to the Gate of St. Denis in the Ville. Still, tho they bore
so many different names, they formed in reality only two streets, but
the two mother-streets, the two great arteries of Paris. All the other
veins of the triple city were fed by or discharged themselves into

What, then, was the aspect of this whole, viewed from the summit of
the towers of Notre Dame in 1482? That is what we shall now attempt to
describe. The spectator, on arriving breathless at that elevation, was
dazzled by the chaos of roofs, chimneys, streets, bridges, belfries,
towers and steeples. All burst at once upon the eye--the carved gable,
the sharp roof, the turret perched upon the angles of the walls, the
stone pyramids of the eleventh century, the slated obelisk of the
fifteenth, the round and naked keep of the castle, the square and
embroidered tower of the church, the great and the small, the massive
and the light. The eye was long bewildered amid this labyrinth of
heights and depths in which there was nothing but had its originality,
its reason, its genius, its beauty, nothing, but issued from the hand
of art, from the humblest dwelling with its painted and carved wooden
front, elliptical doorway, and overhanging stories, to the royal
Louvre, which then had a colonnade of towers.


     Born in 1802, died in 1870; his father a French general, his
     grandmother a negress; at first a writer of plays; active in
     the Revolution of 1830; wrote books of travel and short
     stories, a great number of novels, some of them in
     collaboration with others; "Les Trois Mousquetaires"
     published in 1844; "Monte Cristo" in 1844-45; "Le Reine
     Margot" in 1845; wrote also historical sketches and
     reminiscences; his son of the same name famous also as a
     writer of books and a playwright.


Furious with rage, D'Artagnan crossed the anteroom in three strides,
and began to descend the stairs four steps at a time, without looking
where he was going; when suddenly he was brought up short by knocking
violently against the shoulder of a musketeer who was leaving the
apartments of M. De Treville. The young man staggered backward from
the shock, uttering a cry, or rather a yell.

[Footnote 59: From "The Three Musketeers."]

"Excuse me," said D'Artagnan, trying to pass him, "but I am in a great

He had hardly placed his foot on the next step, when he was stopt by
the grasp of an iron wrist on his sash.

"You are in a great hurry!" cried the musketeer, whose face was the
color of a shroud; "and you think that is enough apology for nearly
knocking me down? Not so fast, my young man. I suppose you imagine
that because you heard M. De Treville speaking to us rather brusquely
to-day, that everybody may treat us in the same way? But you are
mistaken, and it is as well you should learn that you are not M. De

"Upon my honor," replied D'Artagnan, recognizing Athos, who was
returning to his room after having his wound drest, "upon my honor, it
was an accident, and therefore I begged your pardon. I should have
thought that was all that was necessary. I repeat that I am in a very
great hurry, and I should be much obliged if you would let me go my

"Monsieur," said Athos, loosening his hold, "you are sadly lacking in
courtesy, and one sees that you must have had a rustic upbringing."

D'Artagnan was by this time half-way down another flight; but on
hearing Athos's remark he stopt short.

"My faith, monsieur!" exclaimed he, "however rustic I may be, I shall
not come to you to teach me manners."

"I am not so sure of that," replied Athos.

"Oh, if I was only not in such haste," cried D'Artagnan; "if only I
was not pursuing somebody--"

"Monsieur, you will find me without running after me. Do you

"And where, if you please?"

"Near Carmes-Deschaux."

"At what hour?"

"Twelve o'clock."

"Very good. At twelve I will be there."

"And don't be late, for at a quarter-past twelve I will cut off your
ears for you."

"All right," called out D'Artagnan, dashing on down-stairs after his
man; "you may expect me at ten minutes before the hour."

But he was not to escape so easily. At the street door stood Porthos,
talking to a sentry, and between the two men there was barely space
for a man to pass. D'Artagnan took it for granted that he could get
through, and darted on, swift as an arrow, but he had not reckoned on
the gale that was blowing. As he passed, a sudden gust wrapt Porthos's
mantle tight round him; and tho the owner of the garment could easily
have freed him had he so chosen, for reasons of his own he preferred
to draw the folds still closer.

D'Artagnan, hearing the volley of oaths let fall by the musketeers,
feared he might have damaged the splendor of the belt, and struggled
to unwind himself; but when he at length freed his head, he found that
like most things in this world the belt had two sides, and while the
front bristled with gold, the back was mere leather; which explains
why Porthos always had a cold and could not part from his mantle.

"Confound you!" cried Porthos, struggling in his turn, "have you gone
mad, that you tumble over people like this?"

"Excuse me," answered D'Artagnan, "but I am in a great hurry. I am
pursuing some one, and--"

"And I suppose that on such occasions you leave your eyes behind you?"
asked Porthos.

"No," replied D'Artagnan, rather nettled; "and thanks to my eyes, I
often see things that other people don't."

Possibly Porthos might have understood this allusion, but in any case
he did not attempt to control his anger, and said sharply:

"Monsieur, we shall have to give you a lesson if you take to tumbling
against the musketeers like this!"

"A lesson, monsieur!" replied D'Artagnan; "that is rather a severe

"It is the expression of a man who is always accustomed to look his
enemies in the face."

"Oh, if that is all, there is no fear of your turning your back on
anybody," and enchanted at his own wit, the young man walked away in
fits of laughter.

Porthos foamed with rage, and rushed after D'Artagnan.

"By and by, by and by," cried the latter; "when you have not got your
mantle on."

"At one o'clock then, behind the Luxembourg."

"All right; at one o'clock," replied D'Artagnan as he vanished around
the corner....

Moreover, he had gotten himself into two fierce duels with two men,
each able to kill three D'Artagnans; in a word, with two
musketeers--beings he set so high that he placed them above all other

It was a sad lookout. To be sure, as the youth was certain to be
killed by Athos, he was not much disturbed about Porthos. As hope is
the last thing to die in a man's heart, however, he ended by hoping
that he might come out alive from both duels, even if dreadfully
injured; and on that supposition he scored himself in this way for
his conduct:

"What a rattle-headed dunce I am! Thai brave and unfortunate Athos was
wounded right on that shoulder I ran against head foremost, like a
ram. The only thing that surprizes me is that he didn't strike me dead
on the spot; he had provocation enough, for I must have hurt him
savagely. As to Porthos--oh! as to Porthos--that's a funny affair!"

And the youth began to laugh aloud in spite of himself; looking round
carefully, however, to see if his laughing alone in public without
apparent cause aroused any suspicion....

D'Artagnan, walking and soliloquizing, had come within a few steps of
the Aiguillon House, and in front of it saw Aramis chatting gaily with
three of the King's Guards. Aramis also saw D'Artagnan; but not having
forgotten that it was in his presence M. De Treville had got so angry
in the morning, and as a witness of the rebuke was not at all
pleasant, he pretended not to see him. D'Artagnan, on the other hand,
full of his plans of conciliation and politeness, approached the young
man with a profound bow accompanied by a most gracious smile. Aramis
bowed slightly, but did not smile. Moreover, all four immediately
broke off their conversation.

D'Artagnan was not so dull as not to see he was not wanted; but he was
not yet used enough to social customs to know how to extricate himself
dextrously from his false position, which his generally is who accosts
people he is little acquainted with, and mingles in a conversation
which does not concern him. He was mentally casting about for the
least awkward manner of retreat, when he noticed that Aramis had let
his handkerchief fall and (doubtless by mistake) put his foot on it.
This seemed a favorable chance to repair his mistake of intrusion: he
stooped down, and with the most gracious air he could assume, drew the
handkerchief from under the foot in spite of the efforts made to
detain it, and holding it out to Aramis, said:

"I believe, sir, this is a handkerchief you would be sorry to lose?"

The handkerchief was in truth richly embroidered, and had a cornet and
a coat of arms at one corner. Aramis blushed excessively, and snatched
rather than took the handkerchief.

"Ha! ha!" exclaimed one of the guards, "will you go on saying now,
most discreet Aramis, that you are not on good terms with Madame de
Bois-Tracy, when that gracious lady does you the favor of lending you
her handkerchief!"

Aramis darted at D'Artagnan one of those looks which tell a man that
he has made a mortal enemy; then assuming his mild air he said:

"You are mistaken, gentlemen: this handkerchief is not mine, and I can
not understand why this gentleman has taken it into his head to offer
it to me rather than to one of you. And as a proof of what I say, here
is mine in my pocket."

So saying, he pulled out his handkerchief, which was also not only a
very dainty one, and of fine linen (tho linen was then costly), but
was embroidered and without arms, bearing only a single cipher, the

This time D'Artagnan saw his mistake; but Aramis's friends were by no
means convinced, and one of them, addressing the young musketeer with
pretended gravity, said:

"If things were as you make out, I should feel obliged, my dear
Aramis, to reclaim it myself; for as you very well know, Bois-Tracy is
an intimate friend of mine, and I can not allow one of his wife's
belongings to be exhibited as a trophy."

"You make the demand clumsily," replied Aramis; "and while I
acknowledge the justice of your reclamation, I refuse it on account of
the form."

"The fact is," D'Artagnan put in hesitatingly, "I did not actually see
the handkerchief fall from M. Aramis's pocket. He had his foot on it,
that's all, and I thought it was his."

"And you were deceived, my dear sir," replied Aramis coldly, very
little obliged for the explanation; then turning to the guard who had
profest himself Bois-Tracy's friend--"Besides," he went on, "I have
reflected, my dear intimate friend of Bois-Tracy, that I am not less
devotedly his friend than you can possibly be, so that this
handkerchief is quite as likely to have fallen from your pocket as
from mine!"

"On my honor, no!"

"You are about to swear on your honor, and I on my word; and then it
will be pretty evident that one of us will have lied. Now here,
Montaran, we will do better than that: let each take a half."

"Perfectly fair," cried the other two guardsmen; "the judgment of
Solomon! Aramis, you are certainly full of wisdom!"

They burst into a loud laugh, and as may be supposed, the incident
bore no other fruit. In a minute or two the conversation stopt, and
the three guards and the musketeer, after heartily shaking hands,
separated, the guards going one way and Aramis another.

"Now is the time to make my peace with this gentleman," said
D'Artagnan to himself, having stood on one side during all the latter
part of the conversation; and in this good spirit drawing near to
Aramis, who was going off without paying any attention to him, he

"You will excuse me, I hope."

"Ah!" interrupted Aramis, "permit me to observe to you, sir, that you
have not acted in this affair as a man of good breeding ought."

"What!" cried D'Artagnan, "do you suppose--"

"I suppose that you are not a fool, and that you knew very well, even
tho you come from Gascony, that people do not stand on handkerchiefs
for nothing. What the devil! Paris is not paved with linen!"

"Sir, you do wrong in trying to humiliate me," said D'Artagnan, in
whom his native pugnacity began to speak louder than his peaceful
resolutions. "I come from Gascony, it is true; and since you know it,
there is no need to tell you that Gascons are not very patient, so
that when they have asked pardon once, even for a folly, they think
they have done at least as much again as they ought to have done."

"Sir, what I say to you about this matter," said Aramis, "is not for
the sake of hunting a quarrel. Thank Heaven, I am not a
swash-buckler, and being a musketeer only for a while, I only fight
when I am forced to do so, and always with great reluctance; but this
time the affair is serious, for here is a lady compromised by you."

"By us, you mean," cried D'Artagnan.

"Why did you give me back the handkerchief so awkwardly?"

"Why did you let it fall so awkwardly?"

"I have said that the handkerchief did not fall from my pocket."

"Well, by saying that you have told two lies, sir; for I saw it fall."

"Oh ho! you take it up that way, do you, Master Gascon? Well, I will
teach you how to behave yourself."

"And I will send you back to your pulpit, Master Priest. Draw, if you
please, and instantly--"....

"Prudence is a virtue useless enough to musketeers, I know, but
indispensable to churchmen; and as I am only a temporary musketeer, I
hold it best to be prudent. At two o'clock I shall have the honor of
expecting you at Treville's. There I will point out the best place and
time to you."

The two bowed and separated. Aramis went up the street which led to
the Luxembourg; while D'Artagnan, seeing that the appointed hour was
coming near, took the road to the Carmes-Deschaux, saying to himself,
"I certainly can not hope to come out of these scrapes alive; but if I
am doomed to be killed, it will be by a royal musketeer."


     Born in France in 1804, died in 1876; her real name Aurore
     Dupin, Baroness Dudevant; entered a convent in Paris in
     1817, remaining until 1820; married in 1822; sought a life
     of independence in 1831 with Jules Sandeau, with whom she
     collaborated in writing; became an advanced Republican,
     active in politics; wrote for newspapers and started a
     newspaper of her own; published "Indiana" in 1831,
     "Consuelo" in 1842; "Elle et Lui" in 1858; "Nanon" in 1872;
     author of many other books.


"The prophets are crying in the desert to-day, and no voice answers,
for the world is indifferent and deaf: it lies down and stops its ears
so as to die in peace. A few scattered groups of weak votaries vainly
try to rekindle a spark of virtue. As the last remnants of man's moral
power, they will float for a moment about the abyss, then go and join
the other wrecks at the bottom of that shoreless sea which will
swallow up the world."

"O Lélia, why do you thus despair of those sublime men who aspire to
bring virtue back to our iron age? Even if I were as doubtful of their
success as you are, I would not say so. I should fear to commit an
impious crime."

[Footnote 60: From "Lélia," which was published in 1833, during an
eventful period in its author's life. The character of Lélia was drawn
from George Sand herself as a personification of human nature at war
with itself. The original of Sténio was Alfred de Musset, whose
intimate friendship with the author is historic.]

"I admire those men," said Lélia, "and would like to be the least
among them. But what will those shepherds bearing a star on their
brows be able to do before the huge monster of the Apocalypse--before
that immense and terrible figure outlined in the foreground of all the
prophets' pictures? That woman, as pale and beautiful as vice--that
great harlot of nations, decked with the wealth of the East, and
bestriding a hydra belching forth rivers of poison on all human
pathways--is Civilization; is humanity demoralized by luxury and
science; is the torrent of venom which will swallow up all virtue, all
hope of regeneration."

"O Lélia!" exclaimed the poet, struck by superstition, "are not you
that terrible and unhappy fantom? How many times this fear has taken
possession of my dreams! How many times you have appeared to me as the
type of the unspeakable agony to which the spirit of inquiry has
driven man! With your beauty and your sadness, your weariness and your
skepticism, do you not personify the excess of sorrow produced by the
abuse of thought? Have you not given up, and as it were prostituted,
that moral power, so highly developed by what art, poetry, and science
have done for it, to every new impression and error? Instead of
clinging faithfully and prudently to the simple creed of your fathers,
and to the instinctive indifference God has implanted in man for his
peace and preservation; instead of confining yourself to a pious life
free from vain show, you have abandoned yourself to all the seductions
of ambitious philosophy. You have cast yourself into the torrent of
civilization rising to destroy, and which by dashing along too swiftly
has ruined the scarcely laid foundations of the future. And because
you have delayed the work of centuries for a few days, you think you
have shattered the hourglass of Eternity. There is much pride in this
grief, Lélia! But God will make this billow of stormy centuries, that
for him are but a drop in the ocean, float by. The devouring hydra
will perish for lack of food; and from its world-covering corpse a new
race will issue, stronger and more patient than the old."

"You see far into the future, Sténio! You personify Nature for me, and
are her unspotted child. You have not yet blunted your faculties: you
believe yourself immortal because you feel yourself young and like
that untilled valley now blooming in pride and beauty--never dreaming
that in a single day the plowshare and the hundred-handed monster
called industry can tear its bosom to rob it of its treasures; you are
growing up full of trust and presumption, not foreseeing your coming
life, which will drag you down under the weight of its errors,
disfigure you with the false colors of its promises. Wait, wait a few
years, and you too will say, 'All is passing away!'"

"No, all is not passing away!" said Sténio. "Look at the sun, and the
earth, and the beautiful sky, and these green hills; and even that
ice, winter's fragile edifice, which has withstood the rays of summer
for centuries. Even so man's frail power will prevail! What matters
the fall of a few generations? Do you weep for so slight a thing,
Lélia? Do you deem it possible a single idea can die in the universe?
Will not that imperishable inheritance be found intact in the dust of
our extinct races, just as the inspirations of art and the discoveries
of science arise alive each day from the ashes of Pompeii or the tombs
of Memphis? Oh, what a great and striking proof of intellectual
immortality! Deep mysteries had been lost in the night of time; the
world had forgotten its age, and thinking itself still young, was
alarmed at feeling itself so old. It said as you do, Lélia: 'I am
about to end, for I am growing weak, and I was born but a few days
ago! How few I shall need for dying, since so few were needed for
living!' But one day human corpses were exhumed from the bosom of
Egypt--Egypt that had lived out its period of civilization, and has
just lived its period of barbarism! Egypt, where the ancient light,
lost so long, is being rekindled, and a rested and rejuvenated Egypt
may perhaps soon come and establish herself upon the extinguished
torch of our own. Egypt, the living image of her mummies sleeping
under the dust of ages, and now awaking to the broad daylight of
science in order to reveal the age of the old world to the new! Is
this not solemn and terrible, Lélia? Within the dried-up entrails of a
human corpse the inquisitive glance of our century discovered the
papyrus, that mysterious and sacred monument of man's eternal
power--the still dark but incontrovertible witness of the imposing
duration of creation. Our eager hand unrolls those perfumed bandages,
those frail and indissoluble shrouds at which destruction stopt short.
These bandages that once enfolded a corpse, these manuscripts that
have rested under fleshless ribs in the place once occupied perhaps by
a soul, are human thought; exprest in the science of signs, and
transmitted by the help of an art we had lost, but have found again in
the sepulchers of the East--the art of preserving the remains of the
dead from the outrages of corruption--the greatest power in the
universe. O Lélia, deny the youth of the world if you can, when you
see it stop in artless ignorance before the lessons of the past, and
begin to live on the forgotten ruins of an unknown world."

"Knowledge is not power," replied Lélia. "Learning over again is not
progress; seeing is not living. Who will give us back the power to
act, and above all, the art of enjoying and retaining? We have gone
too far forward now to retreat. What was merely repose for eclipsed
civilizations will be death for our tired-out one; the rejuvenated
nations of the East will come and intoxicate themselves with the
poison we have poured on our soil. The bold barbarian drinkers may
perhaps prolong the orgy of luxury a few hours into the night of time;
but the venom we shall bequeath them will promptly be mortal for them,
as it was for us, and all will drop back into blackness....

"In fact, Sténio, do you not see that the sun is withdrawing from us?
Is not the earth, wearied in its journey, noticeably drifting toward
darkness and chaos? Is your blood so young and ardent as not to feel
the touch of that chill spread like a pall over this planet abandoned
to Fate, the most powerful of the gods? Oh, the cold! that penetrating
pain driving sharp needles into every pore. That curst breath that
withers flowers and burns them like fire; that pain at once physical
and mental, which invades both soul and body, penetrates to the depths
of thought, and paralyzes mind as well as blood! Cold--the sinister
demon who grazes the universe with his damp wing, and breathes
pestilence on bewildered nations! Cold, tarnishing everything,
unrolling its gray and nebulous veil over the sky's rich tints, the
waters' reflections, the hearts of flowers, and the cheeks of maidens!
Cold, that casts its white winding-sheet over fields and woods and
lakes, even over the fur and feathers of animals! Cold, that discolors
all in the material as well as in the intellectual world; not only the
coats of bears and hares on the shores of Archangel, but the very
pleasures of man and the character of his habits in the spots it
approaches! You surely see that everything is being civilized; that is
to say, growing cold. The bronzed nations of the torrid zone are
beginning to open their timid and suspicious hands to the snares of
our skill; lions and tigers are being tamed, and come from the desert
to amuse the peoples of the north. Animals which had never been able
to grow accustomed to our climate, now leave their warm sun without
dying, to live in domesticity among us, and even forget the proud and
bitter sorrow which used to kill them when enslaved. It is because
blood is congealing and growing poorer everywhere, while instinct
grows and develops. The soul rises and leaves the earth, no longer
sufficient for her needs."


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VII (of X)—Continental Europe I" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.