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    Book VII

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    Chapter 8
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    After two years' silence and patience, and notwithstanding my
    resolutions, I again take up my pen: Reader, suspend your judgment
    as to the reasons which force me to such a step: of these you can be no
    judge until you shall have read my book.

    My peaceful youth has been seen to pass away calmly and agreeably without
    any great disappointments or remarkable prosperity. This mediocrity was
    mostly owing to my ardent yet feeble nature, less prompt in undertaking
    than easy to discourage; quitting repose for violent agitations, but
    returning to it from lassitude and inclinations, and which, placing me in
    an idle and tranquil state for which alone I felt I was born, at a
    distance from the paths of great virtues and still further from those of
    great vices, never permitted me to arrive at anything great, either good
    or bad. What a different account will I soon have to give of myself!
    Fate, which for thirty years forced my inclinations, for thirty others
    has seemed to oppose them; and this continued opposition, between my
    situation and inclinations, will appear to have been the source of
    enormous faults, unheard of misfortunes, and every virtue except that
    fortitude which alone can do honor to adversity.

    The history of the first part of my life was written from memory, and is
    consequently full of errors. As I am obliged to write the second part
    from memory also, the errors in it will probably be still more numerous.
    The agreeable remembrance of the finest portion of my years, passed with
    so much tranquillity and innocence, has left in my heart a thousand
    charming impressions which I love incessantly to call to my recollection.
    It will soon appear how different from these those of the rest of my life
    have been. To recall them to my mind would be to renew their bitterness.
    Far from increasing that of my situation by these sorrowful reflections,
    I repel them as much as possible, and in this endeavor often succeed so
    well as to be unable to find them at will. This facility of forgetting
    my misfortunes is a consolation which Heaven has reserved to me in the
    midst of those which fate has one day to accumulate upon my head. My
    memory, which presents to me no objects but such as are agreeable, is the
    happy counterpoise of my terrified imagination, by which I foresee
    nothing but a cruel futurity.

    All the papers I had collected to aid my recollection, and guide me in
    this undertaking, are no longer in my possession, nor can I ever again
    hope to regain them.

    I have but one faithful guide on which I can depend: this is the chain of
    the sentiments by which the succession of my existence has been marked,
    and by these the events which have been either the cause or the effect of
    the manner of it. I easily forget my misfortunes, but I cannot forget my
    faults, and still less my virtuous sentiments. The remembrance of these
    is too dear to me ever to suffer them to be effaced from my mind. I may
    omit facts, transpose events, and fall into some errors of dates; but I
    cannot be deceived in what I have felt, nor in that which from sentiment
    I have done; and to relate this is the chief end of my present work. The
    real object of my confessions is to communicate an exact knowledge of
    what I interiorly am and have been in every situation of my life. I have
    promised the history of my mind, and to write it faithfully I have no
    need of other memoirs: to enter into my own heart, as I have hitherto
    done, will alone be sufficient.

    There is, however, and very happily, an interval of six or seven years,
    relative to which I have exact references, in a collection of letters
    copied from the originals, in the hands of M. du Peyrou. This
    collection, which concludes in 1760, comprehends the whole time of my
    residence at the hermitage, and my great quarrel with those who called
    themselves my friends; that memorable epocha of my life, and the source
    of all my other misfortunes. With respect to more recent original
    letters which may remain in my possession, and are but few in number,
    instead of transcribing them at the end of this collection, too
    voluminous to enable me to deceive the vigilance of my Arguses, I will
    copy them into the work whenever they appear to furnish any explanation,
    be this either for or against myself; for I am not under the least
    apprehension lest the reader should forget I make my confession, and be
    induced to believe I make my apology; but he cannot expect I shall
    conceal the truth when it testifies in my favor.

    The second part, it is likewise to be remembered, contains nothing in
    common with the first, except truth; nor has any other advantage over it,
    but the importance of the facts; in everything else, it is inferior to
    the former. I wrote the first with pleasure, with satisfaction, and at
    my ease, at Wootton, or in the castle Trie: everything I had to recollect
    was a new enjoyment. I returned to my closet with an increased pleasure,
    and, without constraint, gave that turn to my descriptions which most
    flattered my imagination.

    At present my head and memory are become so weak as to render me almost
    incapable of every kind of application: my present undertaking is the
    result of constraint, and a heart full of sorrow. I have nothing to
    treat of but misfortunes, treacheries, perfidies, and circumstances
    equally afflicting. I would give the world, could I bury in the
    obscurity of time, every thing I have to say, and which, in spite of
    myself, I am obliged to relate. I am, at the same time, under the
    necessity of being mysterious and subtle, of endeavoring to impose and of
    descending to things the most foreign to my nature. The ceiling under
    which I write has eyes; the walls of my chamber have ears. Surrounded by
    spies and by vigilant and malevolent inspectors, disturbed, and my
    attention diverted, I hastily commit to paper a few broken sentences,
    which I have scarcely time to read, and still less to correct. I know
    that, notwithstanding the barriers which are multiplied around me, my
    enemies are afraid truth should escape by some little opening. What
    means can I take to introduce it to the world? This, however, I attempt
    with but few hopes of success. The reader will judge whether or not such
    a situation furnishes the means of agreeable descriptions, or of giving
    them a seductive coloring! I therefore inform such as may undertake to
    read this work, that nothing can secure them from weariness in the
    prosecution of their task, unless it be the desire of becoming more fully
    acquainted with a man whom they already know, and a sincere love of
    justice and truth.

    In my first part I brought down my narrative to my departure with
    infinite regret from Paris, leaving my heart at Charmettes, and, there
    building my last castle in the air, intending some day to return to the
    feet of mamma, restored to herself, with the treasures I should have
    acquired, and depending upon my system of music as upon a certain

    I made some stay at Lyons to visit my acquaintance, procure letters of
    recommendation to Paris, and to sell my books of geometry which I had
    brought with me. I was well received by all whom I knew. M. and Madam
    de Malby seemed pleased to see me again, and several times invited me to
    dinner. At their house I became acquainted with the Abbe de Malby, as I
    had already done with the Abbe de Condillac, both of whom were on a visit
    to their brother. The Abbe de Malby gave me letters to Paris; among
    others, one to M. de Pontenelle, and another to the Comte de Caylus.
    These were very agreeable acquaintances, especially the first, to whose
    friendship for me his death only put a period, and from whom, in our
    private conversations, I received advice which I ought to have more
    exactly followed.

    I likewise saw M. Bordes, with whom I had been long acquainted, and who
    had frequently obliged me with the greatest cordiality and the most real
    pleasure. He it was who enabled me to sell my books; and he also gave me
    from himself good recommendations to Paris. I again saw the intendant
    for whose acquaintance I was indebted to M. Bordes, and who introduced me
    to the Duke de Richelieu, who was then passing through Lyons. M. Pallu
    presented me. The Duke received me well, and invited me to come and see
    him at Paris; I did so several times; although this great acquaintance,
    of which I shall frequently have occasion to speak, was never of the most
    trifling utility to me.

    I visited the musician David, who, in one of my former journeys, and in
    my distress, had rendered me service. He had either lent or given me a
    cap and a pair of stockings, which I have never returned, nor has he ever
    asked me for them, although we have since that time frequently seen each
    other. I, however, made him a present, something like an equivalent.
    I would say more upon this subject, were what I have owned in question;
    but I have to speak of what I have done, which, unfortunately, is far
    from being the same thing.

    I also saw the noble and generous Perrichon, and not without feeling the
    effects of his accustomed munificence; for he made me the same present he
    had previously done to the elegant Bernard, by paying for my place in the
    diligence. I visited the surgeon Parisot, the best and most benevolent
    of men; as also his beloved Godefroi, who had lived with him ten years,
    and whose merit chiefly consisted in her gentle manners and goodness of
    heart. It was impossible to see this woman without pleasure, or to leave
    her without regret. Nothing better shows the inclinations of a man, than
    the nature of his attachments.

    [Unless he be deceived in his choice, or that she, to whom he
    attaches himself, changes her character by an extraordinary
    concurrence of causes, which is not absolutely impossible. Were
    this consequence to be admitted without modification, Socrates must
    be judged of by his wife Xantippe, and Dion by his friend Calippus,
    which would be the most false and iniquitous judgment ever made.
    However, let no injurious application be here made to my wife. She
    is weak and more easily deceived than I at first imagined, but by
    her pure and excellent character she is worthy of all my esteem.]

    Those who had once seen the gentle Godefroi, immediately knew the good
    and amiable Parisot.

    I was much obliged to all these good people, but I afterwards neglected
    them all; not from ingratitude, but from that invincible indolence which
    so often assumes its appearance. The remembrance of their services has
    never been effaced from my mind, nor the impression they made from my
    heart; but I could more easily have proved my gratitude, than assiduously
    have shown them the exterior of that sentiment. Exactitude in
    correspondence is what I never could observe; the moment I began to
    relax, the shame and embarrassment of repairing my fault made me
    aggravate it, and I entirely desist from writing; I have, therefore, been
    silent, and appeared to forget them. Parisot and Perrichon took not the
    least notice of my negligence, and I ever found them the same. But,
    twenty years afterwards it will be seen, in M. Bordes, to what a degree
    the self-love of a wit can make him carry his vengeance when he feels
    himself neglected.

    Before I leave Lyons, I must not forget an amiable person, whom I again
    saw with more pleasure than ever, and who left in my heart the most
    tender remembrance. This was Mademoiselle Serre, of whom I have spoken
    in my first part; I renewed my acquaintance with her whilst I was at M.
    de Malby's.

    Being this time more at leisure, I saw her more frequently, and she made
    the most sensible impressions on my heart. I had some reason to believe
    her own was not unfavorable to my pretensions; but she honored me with
    her confidence so far as to remove from me all temptation to allure her

    She had no fortune, and in this respect exactly resembled myself; our
    situations were too similar to permit us to become united; and with the
    views I then had, I was far from thinking of marriage. She gave me to
    understand that a young merchant, one M. Geneve, seemed to wish to obtain
    her hand. I saw him once or twice at her lodgings; he appeared to me to
    be an honest man, and this was his general character. Persuaded she
    would be happy with him, I was desirous he should marry her, which he
    afterwards did; and that I might not disturb their innocent love,
    I hastened my departure; offering up, for the happiness of that charming
    woman, prayers, which, here below were not long heard. Alas! her time
    was very short, for I afterwards heard she died in the second or third
    year after her marriage. My mind, during the journey, was wholly
    absorbed in tender regret. I felt, and since that time, when these
    circumstances have been present to my recollection, have frequently done
    the same; that although the sacrifices made to virtue and our duty may
    sometimes be painful, we are well rewarded by the agreeable remembrance
    they leave deeply engravers in our hearts.

    I this time saw Paris in as favorable a point of view as it had appeared
    to me in an unfavorable one at my first journey; not that my ideas of its
    brilliancy arose from the splendor of my lodgings; for in consequence of
    an address given me by M. Bordes, I resided at the Hotel St. Quentin, Rue
    des Cordier, near the Sorbonne; a vile street, a miserable hotel, and a
    wretched apartment: but nevertheless a house in which several men of
    merit, such as Gresset, Bordes, Abbe Malby, Condillac, and several
    others, of whom unfortunately I found not one, had taken up their
    quarters; but I there met with M. Bonnefond, a man unacquainted with the
    world, lame, litigious, and who affected to be a purist. To him I owe
    the acquaintance of M. Roguin, at present the oldest friend I have and by
    whose means I became acquainted with Diderot, of whom I shall soon have
    occasion to say a good deal.

    I arrived at Paris in the autumn of 1741, with fifteen louis in my purse,
    and with my comedy of Narcissus and my musical project in my pocket.
    These composed my whole stock; consequently I had not much time to lose
    before I attempted to turn the latter to some advantage. I therefore
    immediately thought of making use of my recommendations.

    A young man who arrives at Paris, with a tolerable figure, and announces
    himself by his talents, is sure to be well received. This was my good
    fortune, which procured me some pleasure without leading to anything
    solid. Of all the persons to whom I was recommended, three only were
    useful to me. M. Damesin, a gentleman of Savoy, at that time equerry,
    and I believe favorite, of the Princess of Carignan; M. de Boze,
    Secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions, and keeper of the medals of the
    king's cabinet; and Father Castel, a Jesuit, author of the 'Clavecin
    oculaire'.--[ocular harpsichord.]

    All these recommendations, except that to M. Damesin, were given me by
    the Abbe de Malby.

    M. Damesin provided me with that which was most needful, by means of two
    persons with whom he brought me acquainted. One was M. Gase, 'president
    a mortier' of the parliament of Bordeaux, and who played very well upon
    the violin; the other, the Abbe de Leon, who then lodged in the Sorbonne,
    a young nobleman; extremely amiable, who died in the flower of his age,
    after having, for a few moments, made a figure in the world under the
    name of the Chevalier de Rohan. Both these gentlemen had an inclination
    to learn composition. In this I gave them lessons for a few months, by
    which means my decreasing purse received some little aid. The Abbe Leon
    conceived a friendship for me, and wished me to become his secretary; but
    he was far from being rich, and all the salary he could offer me was
    eight hundred livres, which, with infinite regret, I refused; since it
    was insufficient to defray the expenses of my lodging, food, and

    I was well received by M. de Boze. He had a thirst for knowledge, of
    which he possessed not a little, but was somewhat pedantic. Madam de
    Boze much resembled him; she was lively and affected. I sometimes dined
    with them, and it is impossible to be more awkward than I was in her
    presence. Her easy manner intimidated me, and rendered mine more
    remarkable. When she presented me a plate, I modestly put forward my
    fork to take one of the least bits of what she offered me, which made her
    give the plate to her servant, turning her head aside that I might not
    see her laugh. She had not the least suspicion that in the head of the
    rustic with whom she was so diverted there was some small portion of wit.
    M. de Boze presented me to M. de Reaumur, his friend, who came to dine
    with him every Friday, the day on which the Academy of Sciences met. He
    mentioned to him my project, and the desire I had of having it examined
    by the academy. M. de Reaumur consented to make the proposal, and his
    offer was accepted. On the day appointed I was introduced and presented
    by M. de Reaumur, and on the same day, August 22d, 1742, I had the honor
    to read to the academy the memoir I had prepared for that purpose.
    Although this illustrious assembly might certainly well be expected to
    inspire me with awe, I was less intimidated on this occasion than I had
    been in the presence of Madam de Boze, and I got tolerably well through
    my reading and the answers I was obliged to give. The memoir was well
    received, and acquired me some compliments by which I was equally
    surprised and flattered, imagining that before such an assembly, whoever
    was not a member of it could not have commonsense. The persons appointed
    to examine my system were M. Mairan, M. Hellot, and M. de Fouchy, all
    three men of merit, but not one of them understood music, at least not
    enough of composition to enable them to judge of my project.

    During my conference with these gentlemen, I was convinced with no less
    certainty than surprise, that if men of learning have sometimes fewer
    prejudices than others, they more tenaciously retain those they have.
    However weak or false most of their objections were, and although I
    answered them with great timidity, and I confess, in bad terms, yet with
    decisive reasons, I never once made myself understood, or gave them any
    explanation in the least satisfactory. I was constantly surprised at the
    facility with which, by the aid of a few sonorous phrases, they refuted,
    without having comprehended me. They had learned, I know not where, that
    a monk of the name of Souhaitti had formerly invented a mode of noting
    the gamut by ciphers: a sufficient proof that my system was not new.
    This might, perhaps, be the case; for although I had never heard of
    Father Souhaitti, and notwithstanding his manner of writing the seven
    notes without attending to the octaves was not, under any point of view,
    worthy of entering into competition with my simple and commodious
    invention for easily noting by ciphers every possible kind of music,
    keys, rests, octaves, measure, time, and length of note; things on which
    Souhaitti had never thought it was nevertheless true, that with respect
    to the elementary expression of the seven notes, he was the first

    But besides their giving to this primitive invention more importance than
    was due to it, they went still further, and, whenever they spoke of the
    fundamental principles of the system, talked nonsense. The greatest
    advantage of my scheme was to supersede transpositions and keys, so that
    the same piece of music was noted and transposed at will by means of the
    change of a single initial letter at the head of the air. These
    gentlemen had heard from the music--masters of Paris that the method of
    executing by transposition was a bad one; and on this authority converted
    the most evident advantage of my system into an invincible objection
    against it, and affirmed that my mode of notation was good for vocal
    music, but bad for instrumental; instead of concluding as they ought to
    have done, that it was good for vocal, and still better for instrumental.
    On their report the academy granted me a certificate full of fine
    compliments, amidst which it appeared that in reality it judged my system
    to be neither new nor useful. I did not think proper to ornament with
    such a paper the work entitled 'Dissertation sur la musique moderne', by
    which I appealed to the public.

    I had reason to remark on this occasion that, even with a narrow
    understanding, the sole but profound knowledge of a thing is preferable
    for the purpose of judging of it, to all the lights resulting from a
    cultivation of the sciences, when to these a particular study of that in
    question has not been joined. The only solid objection to my system was
    made by Rameau. I had scarcely explained it to him before he discovered
    its weak part. "Your signs," said he, "are very good inasmuch as they
    clearly and simply determine the length of notes, exactly represent
    intervals, and show the simple in the double note, which the common
    notation does not do; but they are objectionable on account of their
    requiring an operation of the mind, which cannot always accompany the
    rapidity of execution. The position of our notes," continued he, "is
    described to the eye without the concurrence of this operation. If two
    notes, one very high and the other very low, be joined by a series of
    intermediate ones, I see at the first glance the progress from one to the
    other by conjoined degrees; but in your system, to perceive this series,
    I must necessarily run over your ciphers one after the other; the glance
    of the eye is here useless." The objection appeared to me
    insurmountable, and I instantly assented to it. Although it be simple
    and striking, nothing can suggest it but great knowledge and practice of
    the art, and it is by no means astonishing that not one of the
    academicians should have thought of it. But what creates much surprise
    is, that these men of great learning, and who are supposed to possess so
    much knowledge, should so little know that each ought to confine his
    judgment to that which relates to the study with which he has been

    My frequent visits to the literati appointed to examine my system and the
    other academicians gave me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the
    most distinguished men of letters in Paris, and by this means the
    acquaintance that would have been the consequence of my sudden admission
    amongst them, which afterwards came to pass, was already established.
    With respect to the present moment, absorbed in my new system of music,
    I obstinately adhered to my intention of effecting a revolution in the
    art, and by that means of acquiring a celebrity which, in the fine arts,
    is in Paris mostly accompanied by fortune. I shut myself in my chamber
    and labored three or four months with inexpressible ardor, in forming
    into a work for the public eye, the memoir I had read before the academy.
    The difficulty was to find a bookseller to take my manuscript; and this
    on account of the necessary expenses for new characters, and because
    booksellers give not their money by handfuls to young authors; although
    to me it seemed but just my work should render me the bread I had eaten
    while employed in its composition.

    Bonnefond introduced me to Quillau the father, with whom I agreed to
    divide the profits, without reckoning the privilege, of which I paid the
    whole expense. Such were the future proceedings of this Quillau that I
    lost the expenses of my privilege, never having received a farthing from
    that edition; which, probably, had but very middling success, although
    the Abbe des Fontaines promised to give it celebrity, and,
    notwithstanding the other journalists, had spoken of it very favorably.

    The greatest obstacle to making the experiment of my system was the fear,
    in case of its not being received, of losing the time necessary to learn
    it. To this I answered, that my notes rendered the ideas so clear, that
    to learn music by means of the ordinary characters, time would be gained
    by beginning with mine. To prove this by experience, I taught music
    gratis to a young American lady, Mademoiselle des Roulins, with whom M.
    Roguin had brought me acquainted. In three months she read every kind of
    music, by means of my notation, and sung at sight better than I did
    myself, any piece that was not too difficult. This success was
    convincing, but not known; any other person would have filled the
    journals with the detail, but with some talents for discovering useful
    things, I never have possessed that of setting them off to advantage.

    Thus was my airy castle again overthrown; but this time I was thirty
    years of age, and in Paris, where it is impossible to live for a trifle.
    The resolution I took upon this occasion will astonish none but those by
    whom the first part of these memoirs has not been read with attention.
    I had just made great and fruitless efforts, and was in need of
    relaxation. Instead of sinking with despair I gave myself up quietly to
    my indolence and to the care of Providence; and the better to wait for
    its assistance with patience, I lay down a frugal plan for the slow
    expenditure of a few louis, which still remained in my possession,
    regulating the expense of my supine pleasures without retrenching it;
    going to the coffee-house but every other day, and to the theatre but
    twice a week. With respect to the expenses of girls of easy virtue, I
    had no retrenchment to make; never having in the whole course of my life
    applied so much as a farthing to that use except once, of which I shall
    soon have occasion to speak. The security, voluptuousness, and
    confidence with which I gave myself up to this indolent and solitary
    life, which I had not the means of continuing for three months, is one of
    the singularities of my life, and the oddities of my disposition. The
    extreme desire I had, the public should think of me was precisely what
    discouraged me from showing myself; and the necessity of paying visits
    rendered them to such a degree insupportable, that I ceased visiting the
    academicians and other men of letters, with whom I had cultivated an
    acquaintance. Marivaux, the Abbe Malby, and Fontenelle, were almost the
    only persons whom I sometimes went to see. To the first I showed my
    comedy of Narcissus. He was pleased with it, and had the goodness to
    make in it some improvements. Diderot, younger than these, was much
    about my own age. He was fond of music, and knew it theoretically; we
    conversed together, and he communicated to me some of his literary
    projects. This soon formed betwixt us a more intimate connection, which
    lasted fifteen years, and which probably would still exist were not I,
    unfortunately, and by his own fault, of the same profession with himself.

    It would be impossible to imagine in what manner I employed this short
    and precious interval which still remained to me, before circumstances
    forced me to beg my bread:--in learning by memory passages from the poets
    which I had learned and forgotten a hundred times. Every morning at ten
    o'clock, I went to walk in the Luxembourg with a Virgil and a Rousseau in
    my pocket, and there, until the hour of dinner, I passed away the time in
    restoring to my memory a sacred ode or a bucolic, without being
    discouraged by forgetting, by the study of the morning, what I had
    learned the evening before. I recollected that after the defeat of
    Nicias at Syracuse the captive Athenians obtained a livelihood by
    reciting the poems of Homer. The use I made of this erudition to ward
    off misery was to exercise my happy memory by learning all the poets by

    I had another expedient, not less solid, in the game of chess, to which I
    regularly dedicated, at Maugis, the evenings on which I did not go to the
    theatre. I became acquainted with M. de Legal, M. Husson, Philidor, and
    all the great chess players of the day, without making the least
    improvement in the game. However, I had no doubt but, in the end, I
    should become superior to them all, and this, in my own opinion, was a
    sufficient resource. The same manner of reasoning served me in every
    folly to which I felt myself inclined. I said to myself: whoever excels
    in anything is sure to acquire a distinguished reception in society. Let
    us therefore excel, no matter in what, I shall certainly be sought after;
    opportunities will present themselves, and my own merit will do the rest.
    This childishness was not the sophism of my reason; it was that of my
    indolence. Dismayed at the great and rapid efforts which would have been
    necessary to call forth my endeavors, I strove to flatter my idleness,
    and by arguments suitable to the purpose, veiled from my own eyes the
    shame of such a state.

    I thus calmly waited for the moment when I was to be without money; and
    had not Father Castel, whom I sometimes went to see in my way to the
    coffee-house, roused me from my lethargy, I believe I should have seen
    myself reduced to my last farthing without the least emotion. Father

    Castel was a madman, but a good man upon the whole; he was sorry to see
    me thus impoverish myself to no purpose. "Since musicians and the
    learned," said he, "do not sing by your scale, change the string, and
    apply to the women. You will perhaps succeed better with them. I have
    spoken of you to Madam de Beuzenval; go to her from me; she is a good
    woman who will be glad to see the countryman of her son and husband. You
    will find at her house Madam de Broglie, her daughter, who is a woman of
    wit. Madam Dupin is another to whom I also have mentioned you; carry her
    your work; she is desirous of seeing you, and will receive you well. No
    thing is done in Paris without the women. They are the curves, of which
    the wise are the asymptotes; they incessantly approach each other, but
    never touch."

    After having from day to day delayed these very disagreeable steps, I at
    length took courage, and called upon Madam de Beuzenval. She received me
    with kindness; and Madam de Broglio entering the chamber, she said to
    her: "Daughter, this is M. Rousseau, of whom Father Castel has spoken to
    us." Madam de Broglie complimented me upon my work, and going to her
    harpsichord proved to me she had already given it some attention.
    Perceiving it to be about one o'clock, I prepared to take my leave.
    Madam de Beuzenval said to me: "You are at a great distance from the
    quarter of the town in which you reside; stay and dine here." I did not
    want asking a second time. A quarter of an hour afterwards,
    I understood, by a word, that the dinner to which she had invited me was
    that of her servants' hall. Madam de Beuzenval was a very good kind of
    woman, but of a confined understanding, and too full of her illustrious
    Polish nobility: she had no idea of the respect due to talents. On this
    occasion, likewise, she judged me by my manner rather than by my dress,
    which, although very plain, was very neat, and by no means announced a
    man to dine with servants. I had too long forgotten the way to the place
    where they eat to be inclined to take it again. Without suffering my
    anger to appear, I told Madam de Beuzenval that I had an affair of a
    trifling nature which I had just recollected obliged me to return home,
    and I immediately prepared to depart. Madam de Broglie approached her
    mother, and whispered in her ear a few words which had their effect.
    Madam de Beuzenval rose to prevent me from going, and said, "I expect
    that you will do us the honor to dine with us." In this case I thought
    to show pride would be a mark of folly, and I determined to stay. The
    goodness of Madam de Broglie had besides made an impression upon me, and
    rendered her interesting in my eyes. I was very glad to dine with her,
    and hoped, that when she knew me better, she would not regret having
    procured me that honor. The President de Lamoignon, very intimate in the
    family, dined there also. He, as well as Madam de Broglie, was a master
    of all the modish and fashionable small talk jargon of Paris. Poor Jean
    Jacques was unable to make a figure in this way. I had sense enough not
    to pretend to it, and was silent. Happy would it have been for me, had I
    always possessed the same wisdom; I should not be in the abyss into which
    I am now fallen. I was vexed at my own stupidity, and at being unable to
    justify to Madam de Broglie what she had done in my favor.

    After dinner I thought of my ordinary resource. I had in my pocket an
    epistle in verse, written to Parisot during my residence at Lyons. This
    fragment was not without some fire, which I increased by my manner of
    reading, and made them all three shed tears. Whether it was vanity, or
    really the truth, I thought the eyes of Madam de Broglie seemed to say to
    her mother: "Well, mamma, was I wrong in telling you this man was fitter
    to dine with us than with your women?" Until then my heart had been
    rather burdened, but after this revenge I felt myself satisfied. Madam
    de Broglie, carrying her favorable opinion of me rather too far, thought
    I should immediately acquire fame in Paris, and become a favorite with
    fine ladies. To guide my inexperience she gave me the confessions of the
    Count de -----. "This book," said she, "is a Mentor, of which you will
    stand in need in the great world. You will do well by sometimes
    consulting it." I kept the book upwards of twenty years with a sentiment
    of gratitude to her from whose hand I had received it, although I
    frequently laughed at the opinion the lady seemed to have of my merit in
    gallantry. From the moment I had read the work, I was desirous of
    acquiring the friendship of the author. My inclination led me right; he
    is the only real friend I ever possessed amongst men of letters.

    [I have so long been of the same opinion, and so perfectly convinced
    of its being well founded, that since my return to Paris I confided
    to him the manuscript of my confessions. The suspicious J. J.
    never suspected perfidy and falsehood until he had been their

    From this time I thought I might depend on the services of Madam the
    Baroness of Beuzenval, and the Marchioness of Broglie, and that they
    would not long leave me without resource. In this I was not deceived.
    But I must now speak of my first visit to Madam Dupin, which produced
    more lasting consequences.

    Madam Dupin was, as every one in Paris knows, the daughter of Samuel
    Bernard and Madam Fontaine. There were three sisters, who might be
    called the three graces. Madam de la Touche who played a little prank,
    and went to England with the Duke of Kingston. Madam Darby, the eldest
    of the three; the friend, the only sincere friend of the Prince of Conti;
    an adorable woman, as well by her sweetness and the goodness of her
    charming character, as by her agreeable wit and incessant cheerfulness.
    Lastly, Madam Dupin, more beautiful than either of her sisters, and the
    only one who has not been reproached with some levity of conduct.

    She was the reward of the hospitality of M. Dupin, to whom her mother
    gave her in marriage with the place of farmer general and an immense
    fortune, in return for the good reception he had given her in his
    province. When I saw her for the first time, she was still one of the
    finest women in Paris. She received me at her toilette, her arms were
    uncovered, her hair dishevelled, and her combing-cloth ill-arranged.
    This scene was new to me; it was too powerful for my poor head, I became
    confused, my senses wandered; in short, I was violently smitten by Madam

    My confusion was not prejudicial to me; she did not perceive it. She
    kindly received the book and the author; spoke with information of my
    plan, sung, accompanied herself on the harpsichord, kept me to dinner,
    and placed me at table by her side. Less than this would have turned my
    brain; I became mad. She permitted me to visit her, and I abused the
    permission. I went to see her almost every day, and dined with her twice
    or thrice a week. I burned with inclination to speak, but never dared
    attempt it. Several circumstances increased my natural timidity.
    Permission to visit in an opulent family was a door open to fortune, and
    in my situation I was unwilling to run the risk of shutting it against

    Madam Dupin, amiable as she was, was serious and unanimated; I found
    nothing in her manners sufficiently alluring to embolden me. Her house,
    at that time, as brilliant as any other in Paris, was frequented by
    societies the less numerous, as the persons by whom they were composed
    were chosen on account of some distinguished merit. She was fond of
    seeing every one who had claims to a marked superiority; the great men of
    letters, and fine women. No person was seen in her circle but dukes,
    ambassadors, and blue ribbons. The Princess of Rohan, the Countess of
    Forcalquier, Madam de Mirepoix, Madam de Brignole, and Lady Hervey,
    passed for her intimate friends. The Abbes de Fontenelle, de Saint
    Pierre, and Saltier, M. de Fourmont, M. de Berms, M. de Buffon, and M. de
    Voltaire, were of her circle and her dinners. If her reserved manner did
    not attract many young people, her society inspired the greater awe, as
    it was composed of graver persons, and the poor Jean-Jacques had no
    reason to flatter himself he should be able to take a distinguished part
    in the midst of such superior talents. I therefore had not courage to
    speak; but no longer able to contain myself, I took a resolution to
    write. For the first two days she said not a word to me upon the
    subject. On the third day, she returned me my letter, accompanying it
    with a few exhortations which froze my blood. I attempted to speak, but
    my words expired upon my lips; my sudden passion was extinguished with my
    hopes, and after a declaration in form I continued to live with her upon
    the same terms as before, without so much as speaking to her even by the
    language of the eyes.

    I thought my folly was forgotten, but I was deceived. M. de Francueil,
    son to M. Dupin, and son-in-law to Madam Dupin, was much the same with
    herself and me. He had wit, a good person, and might have pretensions.
    This was said to be the case, and probably proceeded from his
    mother-in-law's having given him an ugly wife of a mild disposition,
    with whom, as well as with her husband, she lived upon the best of
    terms. M. de Francueil was fond of talents in others, and cultivated
    those he possessed. Music, which he understood very well, was a means
    of producing a connection between us. I frequently saw him, and he soon
    gained my friendship. He, however, suddenly gave me to understand that
    Madam Dupin thought my visits too frequent, and begged me to discontinue
    them. Such a compliment would have been proper when she returned my
    letter; but eight or ten days afterwards, and without any new cause, it
    appeared to me ill-timed. This rendered my situation the more singular,
    as M. and Madam de Francueil still continued to give me the same good
    reception as before.

    I however made the intervals between my visits longer, and I should
    entirely have ceased calling on them, had not Madam Dupin, by another
    unexpected caprice, sent to desire I would for a few days take care of
    her son, who changing his preceptor, remained alone during that interval.
    I passed eight days in such torments as nothing but the pleasure of
    obeying Madam Dupin could render supportable: I would not have undertaken
    to pass eight other days like them had Madam Dupin given me herself for
    the recompense.

    M. de Francueil conceived a friendship for me, and I studied with him.
    We began together a course of chemistry at Rouelles. That I might be
    nearer at hand, I left my hotel at Quentin, and went to lodge at the
    Tennis Court, Rue Verdelet, which leads into the Rue Platiere, where M.
    Dupin lived. There, in consequence of a cold neglected, I contracted an
    inflammation of the lungs that had liked to have carried me off. In my
    younger days I frequently suffered from inflammatory disorders,
    pleurisies, and especially quinsies, to which I was very subject, and
    which frequently brought me near enough to death to familiarize me to its

    During my convalescence I had leisure to reflect upon my situation, and
    to lament my timidity, weakness and indolence; these, notwithstanding the
    fire with which I found myself inflamed, left me to languish in an
    inactivity of mind, continually on the verge of misery. The evening
    preceding the day on which I was taken ill, I went to an opera by Royer;
    the name I have forgotten. Notwithstanding my prejudice in favor of the
    talents of others, which has ever made me distrustful of my own, I still
    thought the music feeble, and devoid of animation and invention. I
    sometimes had the vanity to flatter myself: I think I could do better
    than that. But the terrible idea I had formed of the composition of an
    opera, and the importance I heard men of the profession affix to such an
    undertaking, instantly discouraged me, and made me blush at having so
    much as thought of it. Besides, where was I to find a person to write
    the words, and one who would give himself the trouble of turning the
    poetry to my liking? These ideas of music and the opera had possession
    of my mind during my illness, and in the delirium of my fever I composed
    songs, duets, and choruses. I am certain I composed two or three little
    pieces, 'di prima infenzione', perhaps worthy of the admiration of
    masters, could they have heard them executed. Oh, could an account be
    taken of the dreams of a man in a fever, what great and sublime things
    would sometimes proceed from his delirium!

    These subjects of music and opera still engaged my attention during my
    convalescence, but my ideas were less energetic. Long and frequent
    meditations, and which were often involuntary, and made such an
    impression upon my mind that I resolved to attempt both words and music.
    This was not the first time I had undertaken so difficult a task. Whilst
    I was at Chambery I had composed an opera entitled 'Iphis and Anaxarete',
    which I had the good sense to throw into the fire. At Lyons I had
    composed another, entitled 'La Decouverte du Nouveau Monde', which, after
    having read it to M. Bordes, the Abbes Malby, Trublet, and others, had
    met the same fate, notwithstanding I had set the prologue and the first
    act to music, and although David, after examining the composition, had
    told me there were passages in it worthy of Buononcini.

    Before I began the work I took time to consider of my plan. In a heroic
    ballet I proposed three different subjects, in three acts, detached from
    each other, set to music of a different character, taking for each
    subject the amours of a poet. I entitled this opera Les Muses Galantes.
    My first act, in music strongly characterized, was Tasso; the second in
    tender harmony, Ovid; and the third, entitled Anacreon, was to partake of
    the gayety of the dithyrambus. I tried my skill on the first act, and
    applied to it with an ardor which, for the first time, made me feel the
    delightful sensation produced by the creative power of composition. One
    evening, as I entered the opera, feeling myself strongly incited and
    overpowered by my ideas, I put my money again into my pocket, returned to
    my apartment, locked the door, and, having close drawn all the curtains,
    that every ray of light might be excluded, I went to bed, abandoning
    myself entirely to this musical and poetical 'oestrum', and in seven or
    eight hours rapidly composed the greatest part of an act. I can truly
    say my love for the Princess of Ferrara (for I was Tasso for the moment)
    and my noble and lofty sentiment with respect to her unjust brother,
    procured me a night a hundred times more delicious than one passed in the
    arms of the princess would have been. In the morning but a very little
    of what I had done remained in my head, but this little, almost effaced
    by sleep and lassitude, still sufficiently evinced the energy of the
    pieces of which it was the scattered remains.

    I this time did, not proceed far with my undertaking, being interrupted
    by other affairs. Whilst I attached myself to the family of Dupin, Madam
    de Beuzenval and Madam de Broglie, whom I continued to visit, had not
    forgotten me. The Count de Montaigu, captain in the guards, had just
    been appointed ambassador to Venice. He was an ambassador made by
    Barjac, to whom he assiduously paid his court. His brother, the
    Chevalier de Montaigu, 'gentilhomme de la manche' to the dauphin, was
    acquainted with these ladies, and with the Abbe Alary of the French
    academy, whom I sometimes visited. Madam de Broglie having heard the
    ambassador was seeking a secretary, proposed me to him. A conference was
    opened between us. I asked a salary of fifty guineas, a trifle for an
    employment which required me to make some appearance. The ambassador was
    unwilling to give more than a thousand livres, leaving me to make the
    journey at my own expense. The proposal was ridiculous. We could not
    agree, and M. de Francueil, who used all his efforts to prevent my
    departure, prevailed.

    I stayed, and M. de Montaigu set out on his journey, taking with him
    another secretary, one M. Follau, who had been recommended to him by the
    office of foreign affairs. They no sooner arrived at Venice than they
    quarrelled. Bollau perceiving he had to do with a madman, left him
    there, and M. de Montaigu having nobody with him, except a young abbe of
    the name of Binis, who wrote under the secretary, and was unfit to
    succeed him, had recourse to me. The chevalier, his brother, a man of
    wit, by giving me to understand there were advantages annexed to the
    place of secretary, prevailed upon me to accept the thousand livres.
    I was paid twenty louis in advance for my journey, and immediately

    At Lyons I would most willingly have taken the road to Mount Cenis, to
    see my poor mamma. But I went down the Rhone, and embarked at Toulon, as
    well on account of the war, and from a motive of economy, as to obtain a
    passport from M. de Mirepoix, who then commanded in Provence, and to whom
    I was recommended. M. de Montaigu not being able to do without me, wrote
    letter after letter, desiring I would hasten my journey; this, however,
    an accident considerably prolonged.

    It was at the time of the plague at Messina, and the English fleet had
    anchored there, and visited the Felucca, on board of which I was, and
    this circumstance subjected us, on our arrival, after a long and
    difficult voyage, to a quarantine of one--and--twenty days.

    The passengers had the choice of performing it on board or in the
    Lazaretto, which we were told was not yet furnished. They all chose the
    Felucca. The insupportable heat, the closeness of the vessel, the
    impossibility of walking in it, and the vermin with which it swarmed,
    made me at all risks prefer the Lazaretto. I was therefore conducted to
    a large building of two stories, quite empty, in which I found neither
    window, bed, table, nor chair, not so much as even a joint-stool or
    bundle of straw. My night sack and my two trunks being brought me, I was
    shut in by great doors with huge locks, and remained at full liberty to
    walk at my ease from chamber to chamber and story to story, everywhere
    finding the same solitude and nakedness.

    This, however, did not induce me to repent that I had preferred the
    Lazaretto to the Felucca; and, like another Robinson Crusoe, I began to
    arrange myself for my one-and twenty days, just as I should have done for
    my whole life. In the first place, I had the amusement of destroying the
    vermin I had caught in the Felucca. As soon as I had got clear of these,
    by means of changing my clothes and linen, I proceeded to furnish the
    chamber I had chosen. I made a good mattress with my waistcoats and
    shirts; my napkins I converted, by sewing them together, into sheets; my
    robe de chambre into a counterpane; and my cloak into a pillow. I made
    myself a seat with one of my trunks laid flat, and a table with the
    other. I took out some writing paper and an inkstand, and distributed,
    in the manner of a library, a dozen books which I had with me. In a
    word, I so well arranged my few movables, that except curtains and
    windows, I was almost as commodiously lodged in this Lazeretto,
    absolutely empty as it was, as I had been at the Tennis Court in the Rue
    Verdelet. My dinners were served with no small degree of pomp; they were
    escorted by two grenadiers with bayonets fixed; the staircase was my
    dining--room, the landing-place my table, and the steps served me for a
    seat; and as soon as my dinner was served up a little bell was rung to
    inform me I might sit down to table.

    Between my repasts, when I did not either read or write or work at the
    furnishing of my apartment, I went to walk in the burying-ground of the
    Protestants, which served me as a courtyard. From this place I ascended
    to a lanthorn which looked into the harbor, and from which I could see
    the ships come in and go out. In this manner I passed fourteen days, and
    should have thus passed the whole time of the quarantine without the
    least weariness had not M. Joinville, envoy from France, to whom I found
    means to send a letter, vinegared, perfumed, and half burnt, procured
    eight days of the time to be taken off: these I went and spent at his
    house, where I confess I found myself better lodged than in the
    Lazaretto. He was extremely civil to me. Dupont, his secretary, was a
    good creature: he introduced me, as well at Genoa as in the country, to
    several families, the company of which I found very entertaining and
    agreeable; and I formed with him an acquaintance and a correspondence
    which we kept up for a considerable length of time. I continued my
    journey, very agreeably, through Lombardy. I saw Milan, Verona, Brescie,
    and Padua, and at length arrived at Venice, where I was impatiently
    expected by the ambassador.

    I found there piles of despatches, from the court and from other
    ambassadors, the ciphered part of which he had not been able to read,
    although he had all the ciphers necessary for that purpose, never having
    been employed in any office, nor even seen the cipher of a minister. I
    was at first apprehensive of meeting with some embarrassment; but I found
    nothing could be more easy, and in less than a week I had deciphered the
    whole, which certainly was not worth the trouble; for not to mention the
    little activity required in the embassy of Venice, it was not to such a
    man as M. de Montaigu that government would confide a negotiation of even
    the most trifling importance. Until my arrival he had been much
    embarrassed, neither knowing how to dictate nor to write legibly. I was
    very useful to him, of which he was sensible; and he treated me well. To
    this he was also induced by another motive. Since the time of M. de
    Froulay, his predecessor, whose head became deranged, the consul from
    France, M. le Blond, had been charged with the affairs of the embassy,
    and after the arrival of M. de Montaigu, continued to manage them until
    he had put him into the track. M. de Montaigu, hurt at this discharge of
    his duty by another, although he himself was incapable of it, became
    disgusted with the consul, and as soon as I arrived deprived him of the
    functions of secretary to the embassy to give them to me. They were
    inseparable from the title, and he told me to take it. As long as I
    remained with him he never sent any person except myself under this title
    to the senate, or to conference, and upon the whole it was natural enough
    he should prefer having for secretary to the embassy a man attached to
    him, to a consul or a clerk of office named by the court.

    This rendered my situation very agreeable, and prevented his gentlemen,
    who were Italians, as well as his pages, and most of his suite from
    disputing precedence with me in his house. I made an advantageous use of
    the authority annexed to the title he had conferred upon me, by
    maintaining his right of protection, that is, the freedom of his
    neighborhood, against the attempts several times made to infringe it;
    a privilege which his Venetian officers took no care to defend.
    But I never permitted banditti to take refuge there, although this would
    have produced me advantages of which his excellency would not have
    disdained to partake. He thought proper, however, to claim a part of
    those of the secretaryship, which is called the chancery. It was in time
    of war, and there were many passports issued. For each of these
    passports a sequin was paid to the secretary who made it out and
    countersigned it. All my predecessors had been paid this sequin by
    Frenchmen and others without distinction. I thought this unjust, and
    although I was not a Frenchman, I abolished it in favor of the French;
    but I so rigorously demanded my right from persons of every other nation,
    that the Marquis de Scotti, brother to the favorite of the Queen of
    Spain, having asked for a passport without taking notice of the sequin: I
    sent to demand it; a boldness which the vindictive Italian did not
    forget. As soon as the new regulation I had made, relative to passports,
    was known, none but pretended Frenchmen, who in a gibberish the most
    mispronounced, called themselves Provencals, Picards, or Burgundians,
    came to demand them. My ear being very fine, I was not thus made a dupe,
    and I am almost persuaded that not a single Italian ever cheated me of my
    sequin, and that not one Frenchman ever paid it. I was foolish enough to
    tell M. de Montaigu, who was ignorant of everything that passed, what I
    had done. The word sequin made him open his ears, and without giving me
    his opinion of the abolition of that tax upon the French, he pretended I
    ought to account with him for the others, promising me at the same time
    equivalent advantages. More filled with indignation at this meanness,
    than concern for my own interest, I rejected his proposal. He insisted,
    and I grew warm. "No, sir," said I, with some heat, "your excellency may
    keep what belongs to you, but do not take from me that which is mine; I
    will not suffer you to touch a penny of the perquisites arising from
    passports." Perceiving he could gain nothing by these means he had
    recourse to others, and blushed not to tell me that since I had
    appropriated to myself the profits of the chancery, it was but just I
    should pay the expenses. I was unwilling to dispute upon this subject,
    and from that time I furnished at my own expense, ink, paper, wax,
    wax-candle, tape, and even a new seal, for which he never reimbursed me
    to the amount of a farthing. This, however, did not prevent my giving a
    small part of the produce of the passports to the Abbe de Binis, a good
    creature, and who was far from pretending to have the least right to any
    such thing. If he was obliging to me my politeness to him was an
    equivalent, and we always lived together on the best of terms.

    On the first trial I made of his talents in my official functions,
    I found him less troublesome than I expected he would have been,
    considering he was a man without experience, in the service of an
    ambassador who possessed no more than himself, and whose ignorance and
    obstinacy constantly counteracted everything with which common-sense and
    some information inspired me for his service and that of the king. The
    next thing the ambassador did was to connect himself with the Marquis
    Mari, ambassador from Spain, an ingenious and artful man, who, had he
    wished so to do, might have led him by the nose, yet on account of the
    union of the interests of the two crowns he generally gave him good
    advice, which might have been of essential service, had not the other, by
    joining his own opinion, counteracted it in the execution. The only
    business they had to conduct in concert with each other was to engage the
    Venetians to maintain their neutrality. These did not neglect to give
    the strongest assurances of their fidelity to their engagement at the
    same time that they publicly furnished ammunition to the Austrian troops,
    and even recruits under pretense of desertion. M. de Montaigu, who I
    believe wished to render himself agreeable to the republic, failed not on
    his part, notwithstanding my representation to make me assure the
    government in all my despatches, that the Venetians would never violate
    an article of the neutrality. The obstinacy and stupidity of this poor
    wretch made me write and act extravagantly: I was obliged to be the agent
    of his folly, because he would have it so, but he sometimes rendered my
    employment insupportable and the functions of it almost impracticable.
    For example, he insisted on the greatest part of his despatches to the
    king, and of those to the minister, being written in cipher, although
    neither of them contained anything that required that precaution. I
    represented to him that between the Friday, the day the despatches from
    the court arrived, and Saturday, on which ours were sent off, there was
    not sufficient time to write so much in cipher, and carry on the
    considerable correspondence with which I was charged for the same
    courier. He found an admirable expedient, which was to prepare on
    Thursday the answer to the despatches we were expected to receive on the
    next day. This appeared to him so happily imagined, that notwithstanding
    all I could say on the impossibility of the thing, and the absurdity of
    attempting its execution, I was obliged to comply during the whole time I
    afterwards remained with him, after having made notes of the few loose
    words he spoke to me in the course of the week, and of some trivial
    circumstances which I collected by hurrying from place to place.
    Provided with these materials I never once failed carrying to him on the
    Thursday morning a rough draft of the despatches which were to be sent
    off on Saturday, excepting the few additions and corrections I hastily
    made in answer to the letters which arrived on the Friday, and to which
    ours served for answer. He had another custom, diverting enough and
    which made his correspondence ridiculous beyond imagination. He sent
    back all information to its respective source, instead of making it
    follow its course. To M. Amelot he transmitted the news of the court; to
    M. Maurepas, that of Paris; to M. d' Havrincourt, the news from Sweden;
    to M. de Chetardie, that from Petersbourg; and sometimes to each of those
    the news they had respectively sent to him, and which I was employed to
    dress up in terms different from those in which it was conveyed to us.
    As he read nothing of what I laid before him, except the despatches for
    the court, and signed those to other ambassadors without reading them,
    this left me more at liberty to give what turn I thought proper to the
    latter, and in these therefore I made the articles of information cross
    each other. But it was impossible for-me to do the same by despatches of
    importance; and I thought myself happy when M. de Montaigu did not take
    it into his head to cram into them an impromptu of a few lines after his
    manner. This obliged me to return, and hastily transcribe the whole
    despatch decorated with his new nonsense, and honor it with the cipher,
    without which he would have refused his signature. I was frequently
    almost tempted, for the sake of his reputation, to cipher something
    different from what he had written, but feeling that nothing could
    authorize such a deception, I left him to answer for his own folly,
    satisfying myself with having spoken to him with freedom, and discharged
    at my own peril the duties of my station. This is what I always did with
    an uprightness, a zeal and courage, which merited on his part a very
    different recompense from that which in the end I received from him. It
    was time I should once be what Heaven, which had endowed me with a happy
    disposition, what the education that had been given me by the best of
    women, and that I had given myself, had prepared me for, and I became so.
    Left to my own reflections, without a friend or advice, without
    experience, and in a foreign country, in the service of a foreign nation,
    surrounded by a crowd of knaves, who, for their own interest, and to
    avoid the scandal of good example, endeavored to prevail upon me to
    imitate them; far from yielding to their solicitations, I served France
    well, to which I owed nothing, and the ambassador still better, as it was
    right and just I should do to the utmost of my power. Irreproachable in
    a post, sufficiently exposed to censure, I merited and obtained the
    esteem of the republic, that of all the ambassadors with whom we were in
    correspondence, and the affection of the French who resided at Venice,
    not even excepting the consul, whom with regret I supplanted in the
    functions which I knew belonged to him, and which occasioned me more
    embarrassment than they afforded me satisfaction.

    M. de Montaigu, confiding without reserve to the Marquis Mari, who did
    not thoroughly understand his duty, neglected it to such a degree that
    without me the French who were at Venice would not have perceived that an
    ambassador from their nation resided there. Always put off without being
    heard when they stood in need of his protection, they became disgusted
    and no longer appeared in his company or at his table, to which indeed he
    never invited them. I frequently did from myself what it was his duty to
    have done; I rendered to the French, who applied to me, all the services
    in my power. In any other country I should have done more, but, on
    account of my employment, not being able to see persons in place, I was
    often obliged to apply to the consul, and the consul, who was settled in
    the country with his family, had many persons to oblige, which prevented
    him from acting as he otherwise would have done. However, perceiving him
    unwilling and afraid to speak, I ventured hazardous measures, which
    sometimes succeeded. I recollect one which still makes me laugh. No
    person would suspect it was to me, the lovers of the theatre at Paris,
    owe Coralline and her sister Camille, nothing however, can be more true.
    Veronese, their father, had engaged himself with his children in the
    Italian company, and after having received two thousand livres for the
    expenses of his journey, instead of setting out for France, quietly
    continued at Venice, and accepted an engagement in the theatre of Saint
    Luke, to which Coralline, a child as she still was, drew great numbers of
    people. The Duke de Greves, as first gentleman of the chamber, wrote to
    the ambassador to claim the father and the daughter. M. de Montaigu when
    he gave me the letter, confined his instructions to saying, 'voyez cela',
    examine and pay attention to this. I went to M. Blond to beg he would
    speak to the patrician, to whom the theatre belonged, and who, I believe,
    was named Zustinian, that he might discharge Veronese, who had engaged in
    the name of the king. Le Blond, to whom the commission was not very
    agreeable, executed it badly.

    Zustinian answered vaguely, and Veronese was not discharged. I was
    piqued at this. It was during the carnival, and having taken the bahute
    and a mask, I set out for the palace Zustinian. Those who saw my gondola
    arrive with the livery of the ambassador, were lost in astonishment.
    Venice had never seen such a thing. I entered, and caused myself to be
    announced by the name of 'Una Siora Masehera'. As soon as I was
    introduced I took off my mask and told my name. The senator turned pale
    and appeared stupefied with surprise. "Sir;" said I to him in Venetian,
    "it is with much regret I importune your excellency with this visit; but
    you have in your theatre of Saint Luke, a man of the name of Veronese,
    who is engaged in the service of the king, and whom you have been
    requested, but in vain, to give up: I come to claim him in the name of
    his majesty." My short harangue was effectual. I had no sooner left the
    palace than Zustinian ran to communicate the adventure to the state
    inquisitors, by whom he was severely reprehended. Veronese was
    discharged the same day. I sent him word that if he did not set off
    within a week I would have him arrested. He did not wait for my giving
    him this intimation a second time.

    On another occasion I relieved from difficulty solely by my own means,
    and almost without the assistance of any other person, the captain of a
    merchant-ship. This was one Captain Olivet, from Marseilles; the name of
    the vessel I have forgotten. His men had quarreled with the Sclavonians
    in the service of the republic, some violence had been committed, and the
    vessel was under so severe an embargo that nobody except the master was
    suffered to go on board or leave it without permission. He applied to
    the ambassador, who would hear nothing he had to say. He afterwards went
    to the consul, who told him it was not an affair of commerce, and that he
    could not interfere in it. Not knowing what further steps to take he
    applied to me. I told M. de Montaigu he ought to permit me to lay before
    the senate a memoir on the subject. I do not recollect whether or not he
    consented, or that I presented the memoir; but I perfectly remember that
    if I did it was ineffectual, and the embargo still continuing, I took
    another method, which succeeded. I inserted a relation of the affairs in
    one of our letters to M. de Maurepas, though I had difficulty in
    prevailing upon M. de Montaigne to suffer the article to pass.

    I knew that our despatches, although their contents were insignificant,
    were opened at Venice. Of this I had a proof by finding the articles
    they contained, verbatim in the gazette, a treachery of which I had in
    vain attempted to prevail upon the ambassador to complain. My object in
    speaking of the affair in the letter was to turn the curiosity of the
    ministers of the republic to advantage, to inspire them with some
    apprehensions, and to induce the state to release the vessel: for had it
    been necessary to this effect to wait for an answer from the court, the
    captain would have been ruined before it could have arrived. I did still
    more, I went alongside the vessel to make inquiries of the ship's
    company. I took with me the Abbe Patizel, chancellor of the consulship,
    who would rather have been excused, so much were these poor creatures
    afraid of displeasing the Senate. As I could not go on board, on account
    of the order from the states, I remained in my gondola, and there took
    the depositions successively, interrogating each of the mariners, and
    directing my questions in such a manner as to produce answers which might
    be to their advantage. I wished to prevail upon Patizel to put the
    questions and take depositions himself, which in fact was more his
    business than mine; but to this he would not consent; he never once
    opened his mouth and refused to sign the depositions after me. This
    step, somewhat bold, was however, successful, and the vessel was released
    long before an answer came from the minister. The captain wished to make
    me a present; but without being angry with him on that account, I tapped
    him on the shoulder, saying, "Captain Olivet, can you imagine that he who
    does not receive from the French his perquisite for passports, which he
    found his established right, is a man likely to sell them the king's
    protection?" He, however, insisted on giving me a dinner on board his
    vessel, which I accepted, and took with me the secretary to the Spanish
    embassy, M. Carrio, a man of wit and amiable manners, to partake of it:
    he has since been secretary to the Spanish embassy at Paris and charge
    des affaires. I had formed an intimate connection with him after the
    example of our ambassadors.

    Happy should I have been, if, when in the most disinterested manner I did
    all the service I could, I had known how to introduce sufficient order
    into all these little details, that I might not have served others at my
    own expense. But in employments similar to that I held, in which the
    most trifling faults are of consequence, my whole attention was engaged
    in avoiding all such mistakes as might be detrimental to my service. I
    conducted, till the last moment, everything relative to my immediate
    duty, with the greatest order and exactness. Excepting a few errors
    which a forced precipitation made me commit in ciphering, and of which
    the clerks of M. Amelot once complained, neither the ambassador nor any
    other person had ever the least reason to reproach me with negligence in
    any one of my functions. This is remarkable in a man so negligent as I
    am. But my memory sometimes failed me, and I was not sufficiently
    careful in the private affairs with which I was charged; however, a love
    of justice always made me take the loss on myself, and this voluntarily,
    before anybody thought of complaining. I will mention but one
    circumstance of this nature; it relates to my departure from Venice, and
    I afterwards felt the effects of it in Paris.

    Our cook, whose name was Rousselot, had brought from France an old note
    for two hundred livres, which a hairdresser, a friend of his, had
    received from a noble Venetian of the name of Zanetto Nani, who had had
    wigs of him to that amount. Rousselot brought me the note, begging I
    would endeavor to obtain payment of some part of it, by way of
    accommodation. I knew, and he knew it also, that the constant custom of
    noble Venetians was, when once returned to their country, never to pay
    the debts they had contracted abroad. When means are taken to force them
    to payment, the wretched creditor finds so many delays, and incurs such
    enormous expenses, that he becomes disgusted and concludes by giving up
    his debtor accepting the most trifling composition. I begged M. le Blond
    to speak to Zanetto. The Venetian acknowledged the note, but did not
    agree to payment. After a long dispute he at length promised three
    sequins; but when Le Blond carried him the note even these were not
    ready, and it was necessary to wait. In this interval happened my
    quarrel with the ambassador and I quitted his service. I had left the
    papers of the embassy in the greatest order, but the note of Rousselot
    was not to be found. M. le Blond assured me he had given it me back. I
    knew him to be too honest a man to have the least doubt of the matter;
    but it was impossible for me to recollect what I had done with it. As
    Zanetto had acknowledged the debt, I desired M. le Blond to endeavor to
    obtain from him the three sequins on giving him a receipt for the amount,
    or to prevail upon him to renew the note by way of duplicate. Zanetto,
    knowing the note to be lost, would not agree to either. I offered
    Rousselot the three sequins from my own purse, as a discharge of the
    debt. He refused them, and said I might settle the matter with the
    creditor at Paris, of whom he gave me the address. The hair-dresser,
    having been informed of what had passed, would either have his note or
    the whole sum for which it was given. What, in my indignation, would I
    have given to have found this vexatious paper! I paid the two hundred
    livres, and that in my greatest distress. In this manner the loss of the
    note produced to the creditor the payment of the whole sum, whereas had
    it, unfortunately for him, been found, he would have had some difficulty
    in recovering even the ten crowns, which his excellency, Zanetto Nani,
    had promised to pay.

    The talents I thought I felt in myself for my employment made me
    discharge the functions of it with satisfaction, and except the society
    of my friend de Carrio, that of the virtuous Altuna, of whom I shall soon
    have an occasion to speak, the innocent recreations of the place Saint
    Mark, of the theatre, and of a few visits which we, for the most part,
    made together, my only pleasure was in the duties of my station.
    Although these were not considerable, especially with the aid of the Abbe
    de Binis, yet as the correspondence was very extensive and there was a
    war, I was a good deal employed. I applied to business the greatest part
    of every morning, and on the days previous to the departure of the
    courier, in the evenings, and sometimes till midnight. The rest of my
    time I gave to the study of the political professions I had entered upon,
    and in which I hoped, from my successful beginning, to be advantageously
    employed. In fact I was in favor with every one; the ambassador himself
    spoke highly of my services, and never complained of anything I did for
    him; his dissatisfaction proceeded from my having insisted on quitting
    him, inconsequence of the useless complaints I had frequently made on
    several occasions. The ambassadors and ministers of the king with whom
    we were in correspondence complimented him on the merit of his secretary,
    in a manner by which he ought to have been flattered, but which in his
    poor head produced quite a contrary effect. He received one in
    particular relative to an affair of importance, for which he never
    pardoned me.

    He was so incapable of bearing the least constraint, that on the
    Saturday, the day of the despatches for most of the courts he could not
    contain himself, and wait till the business was done before he went out,
    and incessantly pressing me to hasten the despatches to the king and
    ministers, he signed them with precipitation, and immediately went I know
    not where, leaving most of the other letters without signing; this
    obliged me, when these contained nothing but news, to convert them into
    journals; but when affairs which related to the king were in question it
    was necessary somebody should sign, and I did it. This once happened
    relative to some important advice we had just received from M. Vincent,
    charge des affaires from the king, at Vienna. The Prince Lobkowitz was
    then marching to Naples, and Count Gages had just made the most memorable
    retreat, the finest military manoeuvre of the whole century, of which
    Europe has not sufficiently spoken. The despatch informed us that a man,
    whose person M. Vincent described, had set out from Vienna, and was to
    pass by Venice, in his way into Abruzzo, where he was secretly to stir up
    the people at the approach of the Austrians.

    In the absence of M. le Comte de Montaigu, who did not give himself the
    least concern about anything, I forwarded this advice to the Marquis de
    l'Hopital, so apropos, that it is perhaps to the poor Jean Jacques, so
    abused and laughed at, that the house of Bourbon owes the preservation of
    the kingdom of Naples.

    The Marquis de l'Hopital, when he thanked his colleague, as it was proper
    he should do, spoke to him of his secretary, and mentioned the service he
    had just rendered to the common cause. The Comte de Montaigu, who in
    that affair had to reproach himself with negligence, thought he perceived
    in the compliment paid him by M. de l'Hopital, something like a reproach,
    and spoke of it to me with signs of ill-humor. I found it necessary to
    act in the same manner with the Count de Castellane, ambassador at
    Constantinople, as I had done with the Marquis de l'Hopital, although in
    things of less importance. As there was no other conveyance to
    Constantinople than by couriers, sent from time to time by the senate to
    its Bailli, advice of their departure was given to the ambassador of
    France, that he might write by them to his colleague, if he thought
    proper so to do. This advice was commonly sent a day or two beforehand;
    but M. de Montaigu was held in so little respect, that merely for the
    sake of form he was sent to, a couple of hours before the couriers set
    off. This frequently obliged me to write the despatch in his absence.
    M. de Castellane, in his answer made honorable mention of me; M. de
    Jonville, at Genoa, did the same, and these instances of their regard and
    esteem became new grievances.

    I acknowledge I did not neglect any opportunity of making myself known;
    but I never sought one improperly, and in serving well I thought I had a
    right to aspire to the natural return for essential services; the esteem
    of those capable of judging of, and rewarding them. I will not say
    whether or not my exactness in discharging the duties of my employment
    was a just subject of complaint from the ambassador; but I cannot refrain
    from declaring that it was the sole grievance he ever mentioned previous
    to our separation.

    His house, which he had never put on a good footing, was constantly
    filled with rabble; the French were ill-treated in it, and the ascendancy
    was given to the Italians; of these even, the more honest part, they who
    had long been in the service of the embassy, were indecently discharged,
    his first gentleman in particular, whom he had taken from the Comte de
    Froulay, and who, if I remember right, was called Comte de Peati, or
    something very like that name. The second gentleman, chosen by M. de
    Montaigu, was an outlaw highwayman from Mantua, called Dominic Vitali, to
    whom the ambassador intrusted the care of his house, and who had by means
    of flattery and sordid economy, obtained his confidence, and became his
    favorite to the great prejudice of the few honest people he still had
    about him, and of the secretary who was at their head. The countenance
    of an upright man always gives inquietude to knaves. Nothing more was
    necessary to make Vitali conceive a hatred against me: but for this
    sentiment there was still another cause which rendered it more cruel. Of
    this I must give an account, that I may be condemned if I am found in the

    The ambassador had, according to custom, a box at each of the theaters.
    Every day at dinner he named the theater to which it was his intention to
    go: I chose after him, and the gentlemen disposed of the other boxes.
    When I went out I took the key of the box I had chosen. One day, Vitali
    not being in the way, I ordered the footman who attended on me, to bring
    me the key to a house which I named to him. Vitali, instead of sending
    the key, said he had disposed of it. I was the more enraged at this as
    the footman delivered his message in public. In the evening Vitali
    wished to make me some apology, to which however I would not listen.
    "To--morrow, sir," said I to him, "you will come at such an hour and
    apologize to me in the house where I received the affront, and in the
    presence of the persons who were witnesses to it; or after to--morrow,
    whatever may be the consequences, either you or I will leave the house."
    This firmness intimidated him. He came to the house at the hour
    appointed, and made me a public apology, with a meanness worthy of
    himself. But he afterwards took his measures at leisure, and at the same
    time that he cringed to me in public, he secretly acted in so vile a
    manner, that although unable to prevail on the ambassador to give me my
    dismission, he laid me under the necessity of resolving to leave him.

    A wretch like him, certainly, could not know me, but he knew enough of my
    character to make it serviceable to his purposes. He knew I was mild to
    an excess, and patient in bearing involuntary wrongs; but haughty and
    impatient when insulted with premeditated offences; loving decency and
    dignity in things in which these were requisite, and not more exact in
    requiring the respect due to myself, than attentive in rendering that
    which I owed to others. In this he undertook to disgust me, and in this
    he succeeded. He turned the house upside down, and destroyed the order
    and subordination I had endeavored to establish in it. A house without a
    woman stands in need of rather a severe discipline to preserve that
    modesty which is inseparable from dignity. He soon converted ours into a
    place of filthy debauch and scandalous licentiousness, the haunt of
    knaves and debauchees. He procured for second gentleman to his
    excellency, in the place of him whom he got discharged, another pimp like
    himself, who kept a house of ill--fame, at the Cross of Malta; and the
    indecency of these two rascals was equalled by nothing but their
    insolence. Except the bed-chamber of the ambassador, which, however, was
    not in very good order, there was not a corner in the whole house
    supportable to an modest man.

    As his excellency did not sup, the gentleman and myself had a private
    table, at which the Abbe Binis and the pages also eat. In the most
    paltry ale-house people are served with more cleanliness and decency,
    have cleaner linen, and a table better supplied. We had but one little
    and very filthy candle, pewter plates, and iron forks.

    I could have overlooked what passed in secret, but I was deprived of my
    gondola. I was the only secretary to an ambassador, who was obliged to
    hire one or go on foot, and the livery of his excellency no longer
    accompanied me, except when I went to the senate. Besides, everything
    which passed in the house was known in the city. All those who were in
    the service of the other ambassadors loudly exclaimed; Dominic, the only
    cause of all, exclaimed louder than anybody, well knowing the indecency
    with which we were treated was more affecting to me than to any other
    person. Though I was the only one in the house who said nothing of the
    matter abroad, I complained loudly of it to the ambassador, as well as of
    himself, who, secretly excited by the wretch, entirely devoted to his
    will, daily made me suffer some new affront. Obliged to spend a good
    deal to keep up a footing with those in the same situation with myself,
    and to make are appearance proper to my employment, I could not touch a
    farthing of my salary, and when I asked him for money, he spoke of his
    esteem for me, and his confidence, as if either of these could have
    filled my purse, and provided for everything.

    These two banditti at length quite turned the head of their master, who
    naturally had not a good one, and ruined him by a continual traffic, and
    by bargains, of which he was the dupe, whilst they persuaded him they
    were greatly in his favor. They persuaded him to take upon the Brenta, a
    Palazzo, at twice the rent it was worth, and divided the surplus with the
    proprietor. The apartments were inlaid with mosaic, and ornamented with
    columns and pilasters, in the taste of the country. M. de Montaigu, had
    all these superbly masked by fir wainscoting, for no other reason than
    because at Paris apartments were thus fitted up. It was for a similar
    reason that he only, of all the ambassadors who were at Venice, took from
    his pages their swords, and from his footmen their canes. Such was the
    man, who, perhaps from the same motive took a dislike to me on account of
    my serving him faithfully.

    I patiently endured his disdain, his brutality, and ill-treatment, as
    long as, perceiving them accompanied by ill-humor, I thought they had in
    them no portion of hatred; but the moment I saw the design formed of
    depriving me of the honor I merited by my faithful services, I resolved
    to resign my employment. The first mark I received of his ill will was
    relative to a dinner he was to give to the Duke of Modena and his family,
    who were at Venice, and at which he signified to me I should not be
    present. I answered, piqued, but not angry, that having the honor daily
    to dine at his table, if the Duke of Modena, when he came, required I
    should not appear at it, my duty as well as the dignity of his excellency
    would not suffer me to consent to such a request. "How;" said he
    passionately, "my secretary, who is not a gentleman, pretends to dine
    with a sovereign when my gentlemen do not!" "Yes, sir," replied I, "the
    post with which your excellency has honored me, as long as I discharge
    the functions of it, so far ennobles me that my rank is superior to that
    of your gentlemen or of the persons calling themselves such; and I am
    admitted where they cannot appear. You cannot but know that on the day
    on which you shall make your public entry, I am called to the ceremony by
    etiquette; and by an immemorial custom, to follow you in a dress of
    ceremony, and afterwards to dine with you at the palace of St. Mark; and
    I know not why a man who has a right and is to eat in public with the
    doge and the senate of Venice should not eat in private with the Duke of
    Modena." Though this argument was unanswerable, it did not convince the
    ambassador; but we had no occasion to renew the dispute, as the Duke of
    Modena did not come to dine with him.

    From that moment he did everything in his power to make things
    disagreeable to me; and endeavored unjustly to deprive me of my rights,
    by taking from me the pecuniary advantages annexed to my employment, to
    give them to his dear Vitali; and I am convinced that had he dared to
    send him to the senate, in my place, he would have done it. He commonly
    employed the Abbe Binis in his closet, to write his private letters: he
    made use of him to write to M. de Maurepas an account of the affair of
    Captain Olivet, in which, far from taking the least notice of me, the
    only person who gave himself any concern about the matter, he deprived me
    of the honor of the depositions, of which he sent him a duplicate, for
    the purpose of attributing them to Patizel, who had not opened his mouth.
    He wished to mortify me, and please his favorite; but had no desire to
    dismiss me his service. He perceived it would be more difficult to find
    me a successor, than M. Follau, who had already made him known to the
    world. An Italian secretary was absolutely necessary to him, on account
    of the answers from the senate; one who could write all his despatches,
    and conduct his affairs, without his giving himself the least trouble
    about anything; a person who, to the merit of serving him well, could
    join the baseness of being the toad-eater of his gentlemen, without
    honor, merit, or principles. He wished to retain, and humble me, by
    keeping me far from my country, and his own, without money to return to
    either, and in which he would, perhaps, had succeeded, had he began with
    more moderation: but Vitali, who had other views, and wished to force me
    to extremities, carried his point. The moment I perceived, I lost all my
    trouble, that the ambassador imputed to me my services as so many crimes,
    instead of being satisfied with them; that with him I had nothing to
    expect, but things disagreeable at home, and injustice abroad; and that,
    in the general disesteem into which he was fallen, his ill offices might
    be prejudicial to me, without the possibility of my being served by his
    good ones; I took my resolution, and asked him for my dismission, leaving
    him sufficient time to provide himself with another secretary. Without
    answering yes or no, he continued to treat me in the same manner, as if
    nothing had been said. Perceiving things to remain in the same state,
    and that he took no measures to procure himself a new secretary, I wrote
    to his brother, and, explaining to him my motives, begged he would obtain
    my dismission from his excellency, adding that whether I received it or
    not, I could not possibly remain with him. I waited a long time without
    any answer, and began to be embarrassed: but at length the ambassador
    received a letter from his brother, which must have remonstrated with him
    in very plain terms; for although he was extremely subject to ferocious
    rage, I never saw him so violent as on this occasion. After torrents of
    unsufferable reproaches, not knowing what more to say, he accused me of
    having sold his ciphers. I burst into a loud laughter, and asked him, in
    a sneering manner, if he thought there was in Venice a man who would be
    fool enough to give half a crown for them all. He threatened to call his
    servants to throw me out of the window. Until then I had been very
    composed; but on this threat, anger and indignation seized me in my turn.
    I sprang to the door, and after having turned a button which fastened it
    within: "No, count," said I, returning to him with a grave step, "Your
    servants shall have nothing to do with this affair; please to let it be
    settled between ourselves." My action and manner instantly made him
    calm; fear and surprise were marked in his countenance. The moment I saw
    his fury abated, I bid him adieu in a very few words, and without waiting
    for his answer, went to the door, opened it, and passed slowly across the
    antechamber, through the midst of his people, who rose according to
    custom, and who, I am of opinion, would rather have lent their assistance
    against him than me. Without going back to my apartment, I descended the
    stairs, and immediately went out of the palace never more to enter it.

    I hastened immediately to M. le Blond and related to him what had
    happened. Knowing the man, he was but little surprised. He kept me to
    dinner. This dinner, although without preparation, was splendid.
    All the French of consequence who were at Venice, partook of it.
    The ambassador had not a single person. The consul related my case to
    the company. The cry was general, and by no means in favor of his
    excellency. He had not settled my account, nor paid me a farthing,
    and being reduced to the few louis I had in my pocket, I was extremely
    embarrassed about my return to France. Every purse was opened to me.
    I took twenty sequins from that of M. le Blond, and as many from that of
    M. St. Cyr, with whom, next to M. le Blond, I was the most intimately
    connected. I returned thanks to the rest; and, till my departure, went
    to lodge at the house of the chancellor of the consulship, to prove to
    the public, the nation was not an accomplice in the injustice of the

    His excellency, furious at seeing me taken notice of in my misfortune, at
    the same time that, notwithstanding his being an ambassador, nobody went
    near his house, quite lost his senses and behaved like a madman. He
    forgot himself so far as to present a memoir to the senate to get me
    arrested. On being informed of this by the Abbe de Binis, I resolved to
    remain a fortnight longer, instead of setting off the next day as I had
    intended. My conduct had been known and approved of by everybody; I was
    universally esteemed. The senate did not deign to return an answer to
    the extravagant memoir of the ambassador, but sent me word I might remain
    in Venice as long as I thought proper, without making myself uneasy about
    the attempts of a madman. I continued to see my friends: I went to take
    leave of the ambassador from Spain, who received me well, and of the
    Comte de Finochietti, minister from Naples, whom I did not find at home.
    I wrote him a letter and received from his excellency the most polite and
    obliging answer. At length I took my departure, leaving behind me,
    notwithstanding my embarrassment, no other debts than the two sums I had
    borrowed, and of which I have just spoken; and an account of fifty crowns
    with a shopkeeper, of the name of Morandi, which Carrio promised to pay,
    and which I have never reimbursed him, although we have frequently met
    since that time; but with respect to the two sums of money, I returned
    them very exactly the moment I had it in my power.

    I cannot take leave of Venice without saying something of the celebrated
    amusements of that city, or at least of the little part of them of which
    I partook during my residence there. It has been seen how little in my
    youth I ran after the pleasures of that age, or those that are so called.
    My inclinations did not change at Venice, but my occupations, which
    moreover would have prevented this, rendered more agreeable to me the
    simple recreations I permitted myself. The first and most pleasing of
    all was the society of men of merit. M. le Blond, de St. Cyr, Carrio
    Altuna, and a Forlinian gentleman, whose name I am very sorry to have
    forgotten, and whom I never call to my recollection without emotion: he
    was the man of all I ever knew whose heart most resembled my own. We
    were connected with two or three Englishmen of great wit and information,
    and, like ourselves, passionately fond of music. All these gentlemen had
    their wives, female friends, or mistresses: the latter were most of them
    women of talents, at whose apartments there were balls and concerts.
    There was but little play; a lively turn, talents, and the theatres
    rendered this amusement incipid. Play is the resource of none but men
    whose time hangs heavy on their hands. I had brought with me from Paris
    the prejudice of that city against Italian music; but I had also received
    from nature a sensibility and niceness of distinction which prejudice
    cannot withstand. I soon contracted that passion for Italian music with
    which it inspires all those who are capable of feeling its excellence.
    In listening to barcaroles, I found I had not yet known what singing was,
    and I soon became so fond of the opera that, tired of babbling, eating,
    and playing in the boxes when I wished to listen, I frequently withdrew
    from the company to another part of the theater. There, quite alone,
    shut up in my box, I abandoned myself, notwithstanding the length of the
    representation, to the pleasure of enjoying it at ease unto the
    conclusion. One evening at the theatre of Saint Chrysostom, I fell into
    a more profound sleep than I should have done in my bed. The loud and
    brilliant airs did not disturb my repose. But who can explain the
    delicious sensations given me by the soft harmony of the angelic music,
    by which I was charmed from sleep; what an awaking! what ravishment!
    what ecstasy, when at the same instant I opened my ears and eyes! My
    first idea was to believe I was in paradise. The ravishing air, which I
    still recollect and shall never forget, began with these words:

    Conservami la bella,
    Che si m'accende il cor.

    I was desirous of having it; I had and kept it for a time; but it was not
    the same thing upon paper as in my head. The notes were the same but the
    thing was different. This divine composition can never be executed but
    in my mind, in the same manner as it was the evening on which it woke me
    from sleep.

    A kind of music far superior, in my opinion, to that of operas, and which
    in all Italy has not its equal, nor perhaps in the whole world, is that
    of the 'scuole'. The 'scuole' are houses of charity, established for the
    education of young girls without fortune, to whom the republic afterwards
    gives a portion either in marriage or for the cloister. Amongst talents
    cultivated in these young girls, music is in the first rank. Every
    Sunday at the church of each of the four 'scuole', during vespers,
    motettos or anthems with full choruses, accompanied by a great orchestra,
    and composed and directed by the best masters in Italy, are sung in the
    galleries by girls only; not one of whom is more than twenty years of
    age. I have not an idea of anything so voluptuous and affecting as this
    music; the richness of the art, the exquisite taste of the vocal part,
    the excellence of the voices, the justness of the execution, everything
    in these delightful concerts concurs to produce an impression which
    certainly is not the mode, but from which I am of opinion no heart is
    secure. Carrio and I never failed being present at these vespers of the
    'Mendicanti', and we were not alone. The church was always full of the
    lovers of the art, and even the actors of the opera came there to form
    their tastes after these excellent models. What vexed me was the iron
    grate, which suffered nothing to escape but sounds, and concealed from me
    the angels of which they were worthy. I talked of nothing else. One day
    I spoke of it at Le Blond's; "If you are so desirous," said he, "to see
    those little girls, it will be an easy matter to satisfy your wishes.
    I am one of the administrators of the house, I will give you a collation
    with them." I did not let him rest until he had fulfilled his promise.
    In entering the saloon, which contained these beauties I so much sighed
    to see, I felt a trembling of love which I had never before experienced.
    M. le Blond presented to me one after the other, these celebrated female
    singers, of whom the names and voices were all with which I was
    acquainted. Come, Sophia,--she was horrid. Come, Cattina,--she had
    but one eye. Come, Bettina,--the small-pox had entirely disfigured her.
    Scarcely one of them was without some striking defect.

    Le Blond laughed at my surprise; however, two or three of them appeared
    tolerable; these never sung but in the choruses; I was almost in despair.
    During the collation we endeavored to excite them, and they soon became
    enlivened; ugliness does not exclude the graces, and I found they
    possessed them. I said to myself, they cannot sing in this manner
    without intelligence and sensibility, they must have both; in fine,
    my manner of seeing them changed to such a degree that I left the house
    almost in love with each of these ugly faces. I had scarcely courage
    enough to return to vespers. But after having seen the girls,
    the danger was lessened. I still found their singing delightful;
    and their voices so much embellished their persons that, in spite of my
    eyes, I obstinately continued to think them beautiful.

    Music in Italy is accompanied with so trifling an expense, that it is not
    worth while for such as have a taste for it to deny themselves the
    pleasure it affords. I hired a harpsichord, and, for half a crown, I had
    at my apartment four or five symphonists, with whom I practised once a
    week in executing such airs, etc., as had given me most pleasure at the
    opera. I also had some symphonies performed from my 'Muses Galantes'.
    Whether these pleased the performers, or the ballet-master of St. John
    Chrysostom wished to flatter me, he desired to have two of them; and I
    had afterwards the pleasure of hearing these executed by that admirable
    orchestra. They were danced to by a little Bettina, pretty and amiable,
    and kept by a Spaniard, M. Fagoaga, a friend of ours with whom we often
    went to spend the evening. But apropos of girls of easy virtue: it is
    not in Venice that a man abstains from them. Have you nothing to
    confess, somebody will ask me, upon this subject? Yes: I have something
    to say upon it, and I will proceed to the confession with the same
    ingenuousness with which I have made my former ones.

    I always had a disinclination to girls of pleasure, but at Venice those
    were all I had within my reach; most of the houses being shut against me
    on account of my place. The daughters of M. le Blond were very amiable,
    but difficult of access; and I had too much respect for the father and
    mother ever once to have the least desire for them.

    I should have had a much stronger inclination to a young lady named
    Mademoiselle de Cataneo, daughter to the agent from the King of Prussia,
    but Carrio was in love with her there was even between them some question
    of marriage. He was in easy circumstances, and I had no fortune: his
    salary was a hundred louis (guineas) a year, and mine amounted to no more
    than a thousand livres (about forty pounds sterling) and, besides my
    being unwilling to oppose a friend, I knew that in all places, and
    especially at Venice, with a purse so ill furnished as mine was,
    gallantry was out of the question. I had not lost the pernicious custom
    of deceiving my wants. Too busily employed forcibly to feel those
    proceeding from the climate, I lived upwards of a year in that city as
    chastely as I had done in Paris, and at the end of eighteen months I
    quitted it without having approached the sex, except twice by means of
    the singular opportunities of which I am going to speak.

    The first was procured me by that honest gentleman, Vitali, some time
    after the formal apology I obliged him to make me. The conversation at
    the table turned on the amusements of Venice. These gentlemen reproached
    me with my indifference with regard to the most delightful of them all;
    at the same time extolling the gracefulness and elegant manners of the
    women of easy virtue of Venice; and adding that they were superior to all
    others of the same description in any other part of the world.
    "Dominic," said I, "(I)must make an acquaintance with the most amiable of
    them all," he offered to take me to her apartments, and assured me I
    should be pleased with her. I laughed at this obliging offer: and Count
    Piati, a man in years and venerable, observed to me, with more candor
    than I should have expected from an Italian, that he thought me too
    prudent to suffer myself to be taken to such a place by my enemy. In
    fact I had no inclination to do it: but notwithstanding this, by an
    incoherence I cannot myself comprehend, I at length was prevailed upon to
    go, contrary to my inclination, the sentiment of my heart, my reason, and
    even my will; solely from weakness, and being ashamed to show an
    appearance to the least mistrust; and besides, as the expression of the
    country is, 'per non parer troppo cogliono'--[Not to appear too great a
    blockhead.]--The 'Padoana' whom we went to visit was pretty, she was
    even handsome, but her beauty was not of that kind that pleased me.
    Dominic left me with her, I sent for Sorbetti, and asked her to sing.
    In about half an hour I wished to take my leave, after having put a ducat
    on the table, but this by a singular scruple she refused until she had
    deserved it, and I from as singular a folly consented to remove her
    doubts. I returned to the palace so fully persuaded that I should feel
    the consequences of this step, that the first thing I did was to send for
    the king's surgeon to ask him for ptisans. Nothing can equal the
    uneasiness of mind I suffered for three weeks, without its being
    justified by any real inconvenience or apparent sign. I could not
    believe it was possible to withdraw with impunity from the arms of the
    'padoana'. The surgeon himself had the greatest difficulty in removing
    my apprehensions; nor could he do this by any other means than by
    persuading me I was formed in such a manner as not to be easily infected:
    and although in the experiment I exposed myself less than any other man
    would have done, my health in that respect never having suffered the
    least inconvenience, in my opinion a proof the surgeon was right.
    However, this has never made me imprudent, and if in fact I have received
    such an advantage from nature I can safely assert I have never abused it.

    My second adventure, although likewise with a common girl, was of a
    nature very different, as well in its origin as in its effects; I have
    already said that Captain Olivet gave me a dinner on board his vessel,
    and that I took with me the secretary of the Spanish embassy. I expected
    a salute of cannon.

    The ship's company was drawn up to receive us, but not so much as a
    priming was burnt, at which I was mortified, on account of Carrio, whom I
    perceived to be rather piqued at the neglect. A salute of cannon was
    given on board merchant-ships to people of less consequence than we were;
    I besides thought I deserved some distinguished mark of respect from the
    captain. I could not conceal my thoughts, because this at all times was
    impossible to me, and although the dinner was a very good one, and Olivet
    did the honors of it perfectly well, I began it in an ill humor, eating
    but little, and speaking still less. At the first health, at least, I
    expected a volley; nothing. Carrio, who read what passed within, me,
    laughed at hearing me grumble like a child. Before dinner was half over
    I saw a gondola approach the vessel. "Bless me, sir," said the captain,
    "take care of yourself, the enemy approaches." I asked him what he
    meant, and he answered jocosely. The gondola made the ship's side, and I
    observed a gay young damsel come on board very lightly, and coquettishly
    dressed, and who at three steps was in the cabin, seated by my side,
    before I had time to perceive a cover was laid for her. She was equally
    charming and lively, a brunette, not more than twenty years of age. She
    spoke nothing but Italian, and her accent alone was sufficient to turn my
    head. As she eat and chattered she cast her eyes upon me; steadfastly
    looked at me for a moment, and then exclaimed, "Good Virgin! Ah, my dear
    Bremond, what an age it is since I saw thee!" Then she threw herself into
    my arms, sealed her lips to mine, and pressed me almost to strangling.
    Her large black eyes, like those of the beauties of the East, darted
    fiery shafts into my heart, and although the surprise at first stupefied
    my senses, voluptuousness made a rapid progress within, and this to such
    a degree that the beautiful seducer herself was, notwithstanding the
    spectators, obliged to restrain my ardor, for I was intoxicated, or
    rather become furious. When she perceived she had made the impression
    she desired, she became more moderate in her caresses, but not in her
    vivacity, and when she thought proper to explain to us the real or false
    cause of all her petulance, she said I resembled M. de Bremond, director
    of the customs of Tuscany, to such a degree as to be mistaken for him;
    that she had turned this M. de Bremond's head, and would do it again;
    that she had quitted him because he was a fool; that she took me in his
    place; that she would love me because it pleased her so to do, for which
    reason I must love her as long as it was agreeable to her, and when she
    thought proper to send me about my business, I must be patient as her
    dear Bremond had been. What was said was done. She took possession of
    me as of a man that belonged to her, gave me her gloves to keep, her fan,
    her cinda, and her coif, and ordered me to go here or there, to do this
    or that, and I instantly obeyed her. She told me to go and send away her
    gondola, because she chose to make use of mine, and I immediately sent it
    away; she bid me to move from my place, and pray Carrio to sit down in
    it, because she had something to say to him; and I did as she desired.
    They chatted a good while together, but spoke low, and I did not
    interrupt them. She called me, and I approached her. "Hark thee,
    Zanetto," said she to me, "I will not be loved in the French manner; this
    indeed will not be well. In the first moment of lassitude, get thee
    gone: but stay not by the way, I caution thee." After dinner we went to
    see the glass manufactory at Murano. She bought a great number of little
    curiosities; for which she left me to pay without the least ceremony.
    But she everywhere gave away little trinkets to a much greater amount
    than of the things we had purchased. By the indifference with which she
    threw away her money, I perceived she annexed to it but little value.
    When she insisted upon a payment, I am of opinion it was more from a
    motive of vanity than avarice. She was flattered by the price her
    admirers set upon her favors.

    In the evening we conducted her to her apartments. As we conversed
    together, I perceived a couple of pistols upon her toilette. "Ah! Ah!"
    said I, taking one of them up, "this is a patchbox of a new construction:
    may I ask what is its use? I know you have other arms which give more
    fire than those upon your table." After a few pleasantries of the same
    kind, she said to us, with an ingenuousness which rendered her still more
    charming, "When I am complaisant to persons whom I do not love, I make
    them pay for the weariness they cause me; nothing can be more just; but
    if I suffer their caresses, I will not bear their insults; nor miss the
    first who shall be wanting to me in respect."

    At taking leave of her, I made another appointment for the next day. I
    did not make her wait. I found her in 'vestito di conidenza', in an
    undress more than wanton, unknown to northern countries, and which I will
    not amuse myself in describing, although I recollect it perfectly well.
    I shall only remark that her ruffles and collar were edged with silk
    network ornamented with rose--colored pompons. This, in my eyes, much
    enlivened a beautiful complexion. I afterwards found it to be the mode
    at Venice, and the effect is so charming that I am surprised it has never
    been introduced in France. I had no idea of the transports which awaited
    me. I have spoken of Madam de Larnage with the transport which the
    remembrance of her still sometimes gives me; but how old, ugly and cold
    she appeared, compared with my Zulietta! Do not attempt to form to
    yourself an idea of the charms and graces of this enchanting girl, you
    will be far too short of truth. Young virgins in cloisters are not so
    fresh: the beauties of the seraglio are less animated: the houris of
    paradise less engaging. Never was so sweet an enjoyment offered to the
    heart and senses of a mortal. Ah! had I at least been capable of fully
    tasting of it for a single moment! I had tasted of it, but without a
    charm. I enfeebled all its delights: I destroyed them as at will. No;
    Nature has not made me capable of enjoyment. She has infused into my
    wretched head the poison of that ineffable happiness, the desire of which
    she first placed in my heart.

    If there be a circumstance in my life, which describes my nature, it is
    that which I am going to relate. The forcible manner in which I at this
    moment recollect the object of my book, will here make me hold in
    contempt the false delicacy which would prevent me from fulfilling it.
    Whoever you may be who are desirous of knowing a man, have the courage to
    read the two or three following pages, and you will become fully
    acquainted with J. J. Rousseau.

    I entered the chamber of a woman of easy virtue, as the sanctuary of love
    and beauty: and in her person, I thought I saw the divinity. I should
    have been inclined to think that without respect and esteem it was
    impossible to feel anything like that which she made me experience.
    Scarcely had I, in her first familiarities, discovered the force of her
    charms and caresses, before I wished, for fear of losing the fruit of
    them, to gather it beforehand. Suddenly, instead of the flame which
    consumed me, I felt a mortal cold run through all my veins; my legs
    failed me; and ready to faint away, I sat down and wept like a child.

    Who would guess the cause of my tears, and what, at this moment, passed
    within me? I said to myself: the object in my power is the masterpiece
    of love; her wit and person equally approach perfection; she is as good
    and generous as she is amiable and beautiful. Yet she is a miserable
    prostitute, abandoned to the public. The captain of a merchantship
    disposed of her at will; she has thrown herself into my arms, although
    she knows I have nothing; and my merit with which she cannot be
    acquainted, can be to her no inducement. In this there is something
    inconceivable. Either my heart deceives me, fascinates my senses, and
    makes me the dupe of an unworthy slut, or some secret defect, of which I
    am ignorant, destroys the effect of her charms, and renders her odious in
    the eyes of those by whom her charms would otherwise be disputed. I
    endeavored, by an extraordinary effort of mind, to discover this defect,
    but it did not so much as strike me that even the consequences to be
    apprehended, might possibly have some influence. The clearness of her
    skin, the brilliancy of her complexion, her white teeth, sweet breath,
    and the appearance of neatness about her person, so far removed from me
    this idea, that, still in doubt relative to my situation after the affair
    of the 'padoana', I rather apprehended I was not sufficiently in health
    for her: and I am firmly persuaded I was not deceived in my opinion.
    These reflections, so apropos, agitated me to such a degree as to make me
    shed tears. Zuliette, to whom the scene was quite novel, was struck
    speechless for a moment. But having made a turn in her chamber, and
    passing before her glass, she comprehended, and my eyes confirmed her
    opinion, that disgust had no part in what had happened. It was not
    difficult for her to recover me and dispel this shamefacedness.

    But, at the moment in which I was ready to faint upon a bosom, which for
    the first time seemed to suffer the impression of the hand and lips of a
    man, I perceived she had a withered 'teton'. I struck my forehead: I
    examined, and thought I perceived this teton was not formed like the
    other. I immediately began to consider how it was possible to have such
    a defect, and persuaded of its proceeding from some great natural vice, I
    was clearly convinced, that, instead of the most charming person of whom
    I could form to myself an idea, I had in my arms a species of a monster,
    the refuse of nature, of men and of love. I carried my stupidity so far
    as to speak to her of the discovery I had made. She, at first, took what
    I said jocosely; and in her frolicsome humor, did and said things which
    made me die of love. But perceiving an inquietude I could not conceal,
    she at length reddened, adjusted her dress, raised herself up, and
    without saying a word, went and placed herself at a window. I attempted
    to place myself by her side: she withdrew to a sofa, rose from it the
    next moment, and fanning herself as she walked about the chamber, said to
    me in a reserved and disdainful tone of voice, "Zanetto, 'lascia le
    donne, a studia la matematica."--[Leave women and study mathematics.]

    Before I took leave I requested her to appoint another rendezvous for the
    next day, which she postponed for three days, adding, with a satirical
    smile, that I must needs be in want of repose. I was very ill at ease
    during the interval; my heart was full of her charms and graces; I felt
    my extravagance, and reproached myself with it, regretting the loss of
    the moments I had so ill employed, and which, had I chosen, I might have
    rendered more agreeable than any in my whole life; waiting with the most
    burning impatience for the moment in which I might repair the loss, and
    yet, notwithstanding all my reasoning upon what I had discovered, anxious
    to reconcile the perfections of this adorable girl with the indignity of
    her situation. I ran, I flew to her apartment at the hour appointed. I
    know not whether or not her ardor would have been more satisfied with
    this visit, her pride at least would have been flattered by it, and I
    already rejoiced at the idea of my convincing her, in every respect, that
    I knew how to repair the wrongs I had done. She spared me this
    justification. The gondolier whom I had sent to her apartment brought me
    for answer that she had set off, the evening before, for Florence. If I
    had not felt all the love I had for her person when this was in my
    possession, I felt it in the most cruel manner on losing her. Amiable
    and charming as she was in my eyes, I could not console myself for the
    loss of her; but this I have never been able to do relative to the
    contemptuous idea which at her departure she must have had of me.

    These are my two narratives. The eighteen months I passed at Venice
    furnished me with no other of the same kind, except a simple prospect at
    most. Carrio was a gallant. Tired of visiting girls engaged to others,
    he took a fancy to have one to himself, and, as we were inseparable, he
    proposed to mean arrangement common enough at Venice, which was to keep
    one girl for us both. To this I consented. The question was, to find
    one who was safe. He was so industrious in his researches that he found
    out a little girl from eleven to twelve years of age, whom her infamous
    mother was endeavoring to sell, and I went with Carrio to see her. The
    sight of the child moved me to the most lively compassion. She was fair
    and as gentle as a lamb. Nobody would have taken her for an Italian.
    Living is very cheap in Venice; we gave a little money to the mother, and
    provided for the subsistence of her daughter. She had a voice, and to
    procure her some resource we gave her a spinnet, and a singing--master.
    All these expenses did not cost each of us more than two sequins a month,
    and we contrived to save a much greater sum in other matters; but as we
    were obliged to wait until she became of a riper age, this was sowing a
    long time before we could possibly reap. However, satisfied with passing
    our evenings, chatting and innocently playing with the child, we perhaps
    enjoyed greater pleasure than if we had received the last favors. So
    true is it that men are more attached to women by a certain pleasure they
    have in living with them, than by any kind of libertinism. My heart
    became insensibly attached to the little Anzoletta, but my attachment was
    paternal, in which the senses had so little share, that in proportion as
    the former increased, to have connected it with the latter would have
    been less possible; and I felt I should have experienced, at approaching
    this little creature when become nubile, the same horror with which the
    abominable crime of incest would have inspired me. I perceived the
    sentiments of Carrio take, unobserved by himself, exactly the same turn.
    We thus prepared for ourselves, without intending it, pleasure not less
    delicious, but very different from that of which we first had an idea;
    and I am fully persuaded that however beautiful the poor child might have
    become, far from being the corrupters of her innocence we should have
    been the protectors of it. The circumstance which shortly afterwards
    befell me deprived me, of the happiness of taking a part in this good
    work, and my only merit in the affair was the inclination of my heart.

    I will now return to my journey.

    My first intentions after leaving M. de Montaigu, was to retire to
    Geneva, until time and more favorable circumstances should have removed
    the obstacles which prevented my union with my poor mamma; but the
    quarrel between me and M. de Montaigu being become public, and he having
    had the folly to write about it to the court, I resolved to go there to
    give an account of my conduct and complain of that of a madman. I
    communicated my intention, from Venice, to M. du Theil, charged per
    interim with foreign affairs after the death of M. Amelot. I set off as
    soon as my letter, and took my route through Bergamo, Como, and Domo
    D'Oscela, and crossing Saint Plomb. At Sion, M. de Chaignon, charge des
    affaires from France, showed me great civility; at Geneva M. de la
    Closure treated me with the same polite attention. I there renewed my
    acquaintance with M. de Gauffecourt, from whom I had some money to
    receive. I had passed through Nion without going to see my father: not
    that this was a matter of indifference to me, but because I was unwilling
    to appear before my mother-in-law, after the disaster which had befallen
    me, certain of being condemned by her without being heard. The
    bookseller, Du Villard, an old friend of my father's, reproached me
    severely with this neglect. I gave him my reasons for it, and to repair
    my fault, without exposing myself to meet my mother-in-law, I took a
    chaise and we went together to Nion and stopped at a public house. Du
    Villard went to fetch my father, who came running to embrace me. We
    supped together, and, after passing an evening very agreeable to the
    wishes of my heart, I returned the next morning to Geneva with Du
    Villard, for whom I have ever since retained a sentiment of gratitude in
    return for the service he did me on this occasion.

    Lyons was a little out of my direct road, but I was determined to pass
    through that city in order to convince myself of a knavish trick played
    me by M. de Montaigu. I had sent me from Paris a little box containing a
    waistcoat, embroidered with gold, a few pairs of ruffles, and six pairs
    of white silk stockings; nothing more. Upon a proposition made me by M.
    de Montaigu, I ordered this box to be added to his baggage. In the
    apothecary's bill he offered me in payment of my salary, and which he
    wrote out himself, he stated the weight of this box, which he called a
    bale, at eleven hundred pounds, and charged me with the carriage of it at
    an enormous rate. By the cares of M. Boy de la Tour, to whom I was
    recommended by M. Roquin, his uncle, it was proved from the registers of
    the customs of Lyons and Marseilles, that the said bale weighed no more
    than forty-five pounds, and had paid carriage according to that weight.
    I joined this authentic extract to the memoir of M, de Montaigu, and
    provided with these papers and others containing stronger facts, I
    returned to Paris, very impatient to make use of them. During the whole
    of this long journey I had little adventures; at Como, in Valais, and
    elsewhere. I there saw many curious things, amongst others the Boroma
    islands, which are worthy of being described. But I am pressed by time,
    and surrounded by spies. I am obliged to write in haste, and very
    imperfectly, a work which requires the leisure and tranquility I do not
    enjoy. If ever providence in its goodness grants me days more calm, I
    shall destine them to new modelling this work, should I be able to do it,
    or at least to giving a supplement, of which I perceive it stands in the
    greatest need.--[I have given up this project.]

    The news of my quarrel had reached Paris before me and on my arrival I
    found the people in all the offices, and the public in general,
    scandalized at the follies of the ambassador.

    Notwithstanding this, the public talk at Venice, and the unanswerable
    proof I exhibited, I could not obtain even the shadow of justice. Far
    from obtaining satisfaction or reparation, I was left at the discretion
    of the ambassador for my salary, and this for no other reason than
    because, not being a Frenchman, I had no right to national protection,
    and that it was a private affair between him and myself. Everybody
    agreed I was insulted, injured, and unfortunate; that the ambassador was
    mad, cruel, and iniquitous, and that the whole of the affair dishonored
    him forever. But what of this! He was the ambassador, and I was nothing
    more than the secretary.

    Order, or that which is so called, was in opposition to my obtaining
    justice, and of this the least shadow was not granted me. I supposed
    that, by loudly complaining, and by publicly treating this madman in the
    manner he deserved, I should at length be told to hold my tongue; this
    was what I wished for, and I was fully determined not to obey until I had
    obtained redress. But at that time there was no minister for foreign
    affairs. I was suffered to exclaim, nay, even encouraged to do it, and
    joined with; but the affair still remained in the same state, until,
    tired of being in the right without obtaining justice, my courage at
    length failed me, and let the whole drop.

    The only person by whom I was ill received, and from whom I should have
    least expected such an injustice, was Madam de Beuzenval. Full of the
    prerogatives of rank and nobility, she could not conceive it was possible
    an ambassador could ever be in the wrong with respect to his secretary.
    The reception she gave me was conformable to this prejudice. I was so
    piqued at it that, immediately after leaving her, I wrote her perhaps one
    of the strongest and most violent letters that ever came from my pen, and
    since that time I never once returned to her house. I was better
    received by Father Castel; but, in the midst of his Jesuitical wheedling
    I perceived him faithfully to follow one of the great maxims of his
    society, which is to sacrifice the weak to the powerful. The strong
    conviction I felt of the justice of my cause, and my natural greatness of
    mind did not suffer me patiently to endure this partiality. I ceased
    visiting Father Castel, and on that account, going to the college of the
    Jesuits, where I knew nobody but himself. Besides the intriguing and
    tyrannical spirit of his brethren, so different from the cordiality of
    the good Father Hemet, gave me such a disgust for their conversation that
    I have never since been acquainted with, nor seen anyone of them except
    Father Berthier, whom I saw twice or thrice at M. Dupin's, in conjunction
    with whom he labored with all his might at the refutation of Montesquieu.

    That I may not return to the subject, I will conclude what I have to say
    of M. de Montaigu. I had told him in our quarrels that a secretary was
    not what he wanted, but an attorney's clerk. He took the hint, and the
    person whom he procured to succeed me was a real attorney, who in less
    than a year robbed him of twenty or thirty thousand livres. He
    discharged him, and sent him to prison, dismissed his gentleman with
    disgrace, and, in wretchedness, got himself everywhere into quarrels,
    received affronts which a footman would not have put up with, and, after
    numerous follies, was recalled, and sent from the capital. It is very
    probable that among the reprimands he received at court, his affair with
    me was not forgotten. At least, a little time after his return he sent
    his maitre d' hotel, to settle my account, and give me some money. I was
    in want of it at that moment; my debts at Venice, debts of honor, if ever
    there were any, lay heavy upon my mind. I made use of the means which
    offered to discharge them, as well as the note of Zanetto Nani. I
    received what was offered me, paid all my debts, and remained as before,
    without a farthing in my pocket, but relieved from a weight which had
    become insupportable. From that time I never heard speak of M. de
    Montaigu until his death, with which I became acquainted by means of the
    Gazette. The peace of God be with that poor man! He was as fit for the
    functions of an ambassador as in my infancy I had been for those of
    Grapignan.--[I have not been able to find this word in any dictionary,
    nor does any Frenchman of letters of my acquaintance know what it means.
    --T.]--However, it was in his power to have honorably supported himself
    by my services, and rapidly to have advanced me in a career to which the
    Comte de Gauvon had destined me in my youth, and of the functions of
    which I had in a more advanced age rendered myself capable.

    The justice and inutility of my complaints, left in my mind seeds of
    indignation against our foolish civil institutions, by which the welfare
    of the public and real justice are always sacrificed to I know not what
    appearance of order, and which does nothing more than add the sanction of
    public authority to the oppression of the weak, and the iniquity of the
    powerful. Two things prevented these seeds from putting forth at that
    time as they afterwards did: one was, myself being in question in the
    affair, and private interest, whence nothing great or noble ever
    proceeded, could not draw from my heart the divine soarings, which the
    most pure love, only of that which is just and sublime, can produce. The
    other was the charm of friendship which tempered and calmed my wrath by
    the ascendancy of a more pleasing sentiment. I had become acquainted at
    Venice with a Biscayan, a friend of my friend Carrio's, and worthy of
    being that of every honest man. This amiable young man, born with every
    talent and virtue, had just made the tour of Italy to gain a taste for
    the fine arts, and, imagining he had nothing more to acquire, intended to
    return by the most direct road to his own country. I told him the arts
    were nothing more than a relaxation to a genius like his, fit to
    cultivate the sciences; and to give him a taste for these, I advised him
    to make a journey to Paris and reside there for six months. He took my
    advice, and went to Paris. He was there and expected me when I arrived.
    His lodging was too considerable for him, and he offered me the half of
    it, which I instantly accepted. I found him absorbed in the study of the
    sublimest sciences. Nothing was above his reach. He digested everything
    with a prodigious rapidity. How cordially did he thank me for having
    procured him this food for his mind, which was tormented by a thirst
    after knowledge, without his being aware of it! What a treasure of light
    and virtue I found in the vigorous mind of this young man! I felt he was
    the friend I wanted. We soon became intimate. Our tastes were not the
    same, and we constantly disputed. Both opinionated, we never could agree
    about anything. Nevertheless we could not separate; and, notwithstanding
    our reciprocal and incessant contradiction, we neither of us wished the
    other to be different from what he was.

    Ignacio Emanuel de Altuna was one of those rare beings whom only Spain
    produces, and of whom she produces too few for her glory. He had not the
    violent national passions common in his own country. The idea of
    vengeance could no more enter his head, than the desire of it could
    proceed from his heart. His mind was too great to be vindictive, and I
    have frequently heard him say, with the greatest coolness, that no mortal

    could offend him. He was gallant, without being tender. He played with
    women as with so many pretty children. He amused himself with the
    mistresses of his friends, but I never knew him to have one of his own,
    nor the least desire for it. The emanations from the virtue with which
    his heart was stored, never permitted the fire of the passions to excite
    sensual desires.

    After his travels he married, died young, and left children; and, I am as
    convinced as of my existence, that his wife was the first and only woman
    with whom he ever tasted of the pleasures of love.

    Externally he was devout, like a Spaniard, but in his heart he had the
    piety of an angel. Except myself, he is the only man I ever saw whose
    principles were not intolerant. He never in his life asked any person
    his opinion in matters of religion. It was not of the least consequence
    to him whether his friend was a Jew, a Protestant, a Turk, a Bigot, or an
    Atheist, provided he was an honest man. Obstinate and headstrong in
    matters of indifference, but the moment religion was in question, even
    the moral part, he collected himself, was silent, or simply said: "I am
    charged with the care of myself, only." It is astonishing so much
    elevation of mind should be compatible with a spirit of detail carried to
    minuteness. He previously divided the employment of the day by hours,
    quarters and minutes; and so scrupulously adhered to this distribution,
    that had the clock struck while he was reading a phrase, he would have
    shut his book without finishing it. His portions of time thus laid out,
    were some of them set apart to studies of one kind, and others to those
    of another: he had some for reflection, conversation, divine service, the
    reading of Locke, for his rosary, for visits, music and painting; and
    neither pleasure, temptation, nor complaisance, could interrupt this
    order: a duty he might have had to discharge was the only thing that
    could have done it. When he gave me a list of his distribution, that I
    might conform myself thereto, I first laughed, and then shed tears of
    admiration. He never constrained anybody nor suffered constraint: he was
    rather rough with people, who from politeness, attempted to put it upon
    him. He was passionate without being sullen. I have often seen him
    warm, but never saw him really angry with any person. Nothing could be
    more cheerful than his temper: he knew how to pass and receive a joke;
    raillery was one of his distinguished talents, and with which he
    possessed that of pointed wit and repartee. When he was animated, he was
    noisy and heard at a great distance; but whilst he loudly inveighed, a
    smile was spread over his countenance, and in the midst of his warmth he
    used some diverting expression which made all his hearers break out into
    a loud laugh. He had no more of the Spanish complexion than of the
    phlegm of that country. His skin was white, his cheeks finely colored,
    and his hair of a light chestnut. He was tall and well made; his body
    was well formed for the residence of his mind.

    This wise--hearted as well as wise--headed man, knew mankind, and was my
    friend; this was my only answer to such as are not so. We were so
    intimately united, that our intention was to pass our days together. In
    a few years I was to go to Ascoytia to live with him at his estate; every
    part of the project was arranged the eve of his departure; nothing was
    left undetermined, except that which depends not upon men in the best
    concerted plans, posterior events. My disasters, his marriage, and
    finally, his death, separated us forever. Some men would be tempted to
    say, that nothing succeeds except the dark conspiracies of the wicked,
    and that the innocent intentions of the good are seldom or never
    accomplished. I had felt the inconvenience of dependence, and took a
    resolution never again to expose myself to it; having seen the projects
    of ambition, which circumstances had induced me to form, overturned in
    their birth. Discouraged in the career I had so well begun, from which,
    however, I had just been expelled, I resolved never more to attach myself
    to any person, but to remain in an independent state, turning my talents
    to the best advantage: of these I at length began to feel the extent, and
    that I had hitherto had too modest an opinion of them. I again took up
    my opera, which I had laid aside to go to Venice; and that I might be
    less interrupted after the departure of Altuna, I returned to my old
    hotel St. Quentin; which, in a solitary part of the town, and not far
    from the Luxembourg, was more proper for my purpose than noisy Rue St.

    There the only consolation which Heaven suffered me to taste in my
    misery, and the only one which rendered it supportable, awaited me. This
    was not a trancient acquaintance; I must enter into some detail relative
    to the manner in which it was made.

    We had a new landlady from Orleans; she took for a needlewoman a girl
    from her own country, of between twenty--two and twenty--three years of
    age, and who, as well as the hostess, ate at our table. This girl, named
    Theresa le Vasseur, was of a good family; her father was an officer in
    the mint of Orleans, and her mother a shopkeeper; they had many children.
    The function of the mint of Orleans being suppressed, the father found
    himself without employment; and the mother having suffered losses, was
    reduced to narrow circumstances. She quitted her business and came to
    Paris with her husband and daughter, who, by her industry, maintained all
    the three.

    The first time I saw this girl at table, I was struck with her modesty;
    and still more so with her lively yet charming look, which, with respect
    to the impression it made upon me, was never equalled. Beside M. de
    Bonnefond, the company was composed of several Irish priests, Gascons and
    others of much the same description. Our hostess herself had not made
    the best possible use of her time, and I was the only person at the table
    who spoke and behaved with decency. Allurements were thrown out to the
    young girl. I took her part, and the joke was then turned against me.
    Had I had no natural inclination to the poor girl, compassion and
    contradiction would have produced it in me: I was always a great friend
    to decency in manners and conversation, especially in the fair sex. I
    openly declared myself her champion, and perceived she was not insensible
    of my attention; her looks, animated by the gratitude she dared not
    express by words, were for this reason still more penetrating.

    She was very timid, and I was as much so as herself. The connection
    which this disposition common to both seemed to remove to a distance, was
    however rapidly formed. Our landlady perceiving its progress, became
    furious, and her brutality forwarded my affair with the young girl, who,
    having no person in the house except myself to give her the least
    support, was sorry to see me go from home, and sighed for the return of
    her protector. The affinity our hearts bore to each other, and the
    similarity of our dispositions, had soon their ordinary effect. She
    thought she saw in me an honest man, and in this she was not deceived.
    I thought I perceived in her a woman of great sensibility, simple in her
    manners, and devoid of all coquetry:--I was no more deceived in her than
    she in me. I began by declaring to her that I would never either abandon
    or marry her. Love, esteem, artless sincerity were the ministers of my
    triumph, and it was because her heart was tender and virtuous, that I was
    happy without being presuming.

    The apprehensions she was under of my not finding in her that for which I
    sought, retarded my happiness more than every other circumstance. I
    perceived her disconcerted and confused before she yielded her consent,
    wishing to be understood and not daring to explain herself. Far from
    suspecting the real cause of her embarrassment, I falsely imagined it to
    proceed from another motive, a supposition highly insulting to her
    morals, and thinking she gave me to understand my health might be exposed
    to danger, I fell into so perplexed a state that, although it was no
    restraint upon me, it poisoned my happiness during several days. As we
    did not understand each other, our conversations upon this subject were
    so many enigmas more than ridiculous. She was upon the point of
    believing I was absolutely mad; and I on my part was as near not knowing
    what else to think of her. At last we came to an explanation; she
    confessed to me with tears the only fault of the kind of her whole life,
    immediately after she became nubile; the fruit of her ignorance and the
    address of her seducer. The moment I comprehended what she meant, I gave
    a shout of joy. "A Hymen!" exclaimed I; "sought for at Paris, and at
    twenty years of age! Ah my Theresa! I am happy in possessing thee,
    virtuous and healthy as thou art, and in not finding that for which I
    never sought."

    At first amusement was my only object; I perceived I had gone further and
    had given myself a companion. A little intimate connection with this
    excellent girl, and a few reflections upon my situation, made me discover
    that, while thinking of nothing more than my pleasures, I had done a
    great deal towards my happiness. In the place of extinguished ambition,
    a life of sentiment, which had entire possession of my heart, was
    necessary to me. In a word, I wanted a successor to mamma: since I was
    never again to live with her, it was necessary some person should live
    with her pupil, and a person, too, in whom I might find that simplicity
    and docility of mind and heart which she had found in me. It was,
    moreover, necessary that the happiness of domestic life should indemnify
    me for the splendid career I had just renounced. When I was quite alone
    there was a void in my heart, which wanted nothing more than another
    heart to fill it up. Fate had deprived me of this, or at least in part
    alienated me from that for which by nature I was formed. From that
    moment I was alone, for there never was for me the least thing
    intermediate between everything and nothing. I found in Theresa the
    supplement of which I stood in need; by means of her I lived as happily
    as I possibly could do, according to the course of events.

    I at first attempted to improve her mind. In this my pains were useless.
    Her mind is as nature formed it: it was not susceptible of cultivation.
    I do not blush in acknowledging she never knew how to read well, although
    she writes tolerably. When I went to lodge in the Rue Neuve des Petits
    Champs, opposite to my windows at the Hotel de Ponchartrain, there was a
    sun-dial, on which for a whole month I used all my efforts to teach her
    to know the hours; yet, she scarcely knows them at present. She never
    could enumerate the twelve months of the year in order, and cannot
    distinguish one numeral from another, notwithstanding all the trouble I
    took endeavoring to teach them to her. She neither knows how to count
    money, nor to reckon the price of anything. The word which when she
    speaks, presents itself to her mind, is frequently opposite to that of
    which she means to make use. I formerly made a dictionary of her
    phrases, to amuse M. de Luxembourg, and her 'qui pro quos' often became
    celebrated among those with whom I was most intimate. But this person,
    so confined in her intellects, and, if the world pleases, so stupid, can
    give excellent advice in cases of difficulty. In Switzerland, in England
    and in France, she frequently saw what I had not myself perceived; she
    has often given me the best advice I could possibly follow; she has
    rescued me from dangers into which I had blindly precipitated myself, and
    in the presence of princes and the great, her sentiments, good sense,
    answers, and conduct have acquired her universal esteem, and myself the
    most sincere congratulations on her merit. With persons whom we love,
    sentiment fortifies the mind as well as the heart; and they who are thus
    attached, have little need of searching for ideas elsewhere.

    I lived with my Theresa as agreeably as with the finest genius in the
    world. Her mother, proud of having been brought up under the Marchioness
    of Monpipeau, attempted to be witty, wished to direct the judgment of her
    daughter, and by her knavish cunning destroyed the simplicity of our

    The fatigue of this opportunity made me in some degree surmount the
    foolish shame which prevented me from appearing with Theresa in public;
    and we took short country walks, tete-a-tete, and partook of little
    collations, which, to me, were delicious. I perceived she loved me
    sincerely, and this increased my tenderness. This charming intimacy left
    me nothing to wish; futurity no longer gave me the least concern, or at
    most appeared only as the present moment prolonged: I had no other desire
    than that of insuring its duration.

    This attachment rendered all other dissipation superfluous and insipid to
    me. As I only went out for the purpose of going to the apartment of
    Theresa, her place of residence almost became my own. My retirement was
    so favorable to the work I had undertaken, that, in less than three
    months, my opera was entirely finished, both words and music, except a
    few accompaniments, and fillings up which still remained to be added.
    This maneuvering business was very fatiguing to me. I proposed it to
    Philidor, offering him at the same time a part of the profits. He came
    twice, and did something to the middle parts in the act of Ovid; but he
    could not confine himself to an assiduous application by the allurement
    of advantages which were distant and uncertain. He did not come a third
    time, and I finished the work myself.

    My opera completed, the next thing was to make something of it: this was
    by much the more difficult task of the two. A man living in solitude in
    Paris will never succeed in anything. I was on the point of making my
    way by means of M. de la Popliniere, to whom Gauffecourt, at my return to
    Geneva had introduced me. M. de la Popliniere was the Mecaenas of
    Rameau; Madam de la Popliniere his very humble scholar. Rameau was said
    to govern in that house. Judging that he would with pleasure protect the
    work of one of his disciples, I wished to show him what I had done. He
    refused to examine it; saying he could not read score, it was too
    fatiguing to him. M. de la Popliniere, to obviate this difficulty, said
    he might hear it; and offered me to send for musicians to execute certain
    detached pieces. I wished for nothing better. Rameau consented with an
    ill grace, incessantly repeating that the composition of a man not
    regularly bred to the science, and who had learned music without a
    master, must certainly be very fine! I hastened to copy into parts five
    or six select passages. Ten symphonies were procured, and Albert,
    Berard, and Mademoiselle Bourbonois undertook the vocal part. Remeau,
    the moment he heard the overture, was purposely extravagant in his
    eulogium, by which he intended it should be understood it could not be my
    composition. He showed signs of impatience at every passage: but after a
    counter tenor song, the air of which was noble and harmonious, with a
    brilliant accompaniment, he could no longer contain himself; he
    apostrophised me with a brutality at which everybody was shocked,
    maintaining that a part of what he had heard was by a man experienced in
    the art, and the rest by some ignorant person who did not so much as
    understand music. It is true my composition, unequal and without rule,
    was sometimes sublime, and at others insipid, as that of a person who
    forms himself in an art by the soarings of his own genius, unsupported by
    science, must necessarily be. Rameau pretended to see nothing in me but
    a contemptible pilferer, without talents or taste. The rest of the
    company, among whom I must distinguish the master of the house, were of a
    different opinion. M. de Richelieu, who at that time frequently visited
    M. and Madam de la Popliniere, heard them speak of my work, and wished to
    hear the whole of it, with an intention, if it pleased him, to have it
    performed at court. The opera was executed with full choruses, and by a
    great orchestra, at the expense of the king, at M. de Bonneval's
    intendant of the Menus; Francoeur directed the band. The effect was
    surprising: the duke never ceased to exclaim and applaud; and, at the end
    of one of the choruses, in the act of Tasso, he arose and came to me,
    and, pressing my hand, said: "M. Rousseau, this is transporting harmony.
    I never heard anything finer. I will get this performed at Versailles."

    Madam de la Poliniere, who was present, said not a word. Rameau,
    although invited, refused to come. The next day, Madam de la Popliniere
    received me at her toilette very ungraciously, affected to undervalue my
    piece, and told me, that although a little false glitter had at first
    dazzled M. de Richelieu, he had recovered from his error, and she advised
    me not to place the least dependence upon my opera. The duke arrived
    soon after, and spoke to me in quite a different language. He said very
    flattering things of my talents, and seemed as much disposed as ever to
    have my composition performed before the king. "There is nothing," said
    he, "but the act of Tasso which cannot pass at court: you must write
    another." Upon this single word I shut myself up in my apartment; and in
    three weeks produced, in the place of Tasso, another act, the subject of
    which was Hesiod inspired by the muses. In this I found the secret of
    introducing a part of the history of my talents, and of the jealousy with
    which Rameau had been pleased to honor me. There was in the new act an
    elevation less gigantic and better supported than in the act of Tasso.
    The music was as noble and the composition better; and had the other two
    acts been equal to this, the whole piece would have supported a
    representation to advantage. But whilst I was endeavoring to give it the
    last finishing, another undertaking suspended the completion of that I
    had in my hand. In the winter which succeeded the battle of Fontenoi,
    there were many galas at Versailles, and several operas performed at the
    theater of the little stables. Among the number of the latter was the
    dramatic piece of Voltaire, entitled 'La Princesse de Navarre', the music
    by Rameau, the name of which has just been changed to that of 'Fetes de
    Ramire'. This new subject required several changes to be made in the
    divertissements, as well in the poetry as in the music.

    A person capable of both was now sought after. Voltaire was in Lorraine,
    and Rameau also; both of whom were employed on the opera of the Temple of
    Glory, and could not give their attention to this. M. de Richelieu
    thought of me, and sent to desire I would undertake the alterations;
    and, that I might the better examine what there was to do, he gave me
    separately the poem and the music. In the first place, I would not touch
    the words without the consent of the author, to whom I wrote upon the
    subject a very polite and respectful letter, such a one as was proper;
    and received from him the following answer:

    "SIR: In you two talents, which hitherto have always been separated, are
    united. These are two good reasons for me to esteem and to endeavor to
    love you. I am sorry, on your account, you should employ these talents in
    a work which is so little worthy of them. A few months ago the Duke de
    Richelieu commanded me to make, absolutely in the twinkling of an eye,
    a little and bad sketch of a few insipid and imperfect scenes to be
    adapted to divertissements which are not of a nature to be joined with
    them. I obeyed with the greatest exactness. I wrote very fast, and very
    ill. I sent this wretched production to M. de Richelieu, imagining he
    would make no use of it, or that I should have it again to make the
    necessary corrections. Happily it is in your hands, and you are at full
    liberty to do with it whatever you please: I have entirely lost sight of
    the thing. I doubt not but you will have corrected all the faults which
    cannot but abound in so hasty a composition of such a very simple sketch,
    and am persuaded you will have supplied whatever was wanting.

    "I remember that, among other stupid inattentions, no account is given in
    the scenes which connect the divertissements of the manner in which the
    Grenadian prince immediately passes from a prison to a garden or palace.
    As it is not a magician but a Spanish nobleman who gives her the gala, I
    am of opinion nothing should be effected by enchantment.

    "I beg, sir, you will examine this part, of which I have but a confused

    "You will likewise consider, whether or not it be necessary the prison
    should be opened, and the princess conveyed from it to a fine palace,
    gilt and varnished, and prepared for her. I know all this is wretched,
    and that it is beneath a thinking being to make a serious affair of such
    trifles; but, since we must displease as little as possible, it is
    necessary we should conform to reason, even in a bad divertissement of an

    "I depend wholly upon you and M. Ballot, and soon expect to have the
    honor of returning you my thanks, and assuring you how much I am, etc."

    There is nothing surprising in the great politeness of this letter,
    compared with the almost crude ones which he has since written to me.
    He thought I was in great favor with Madam Richelieu; and the courtly
    suppleness, which everyone knows to be the character of this author,
    obliged him to be extremely polite to a new comer, until he become better
    acquainted with the measure of the favor and patronage he enjoyed.

    Authorized by M. de Voltaire, and not under the necessity of giving
    myself the least concern about M. Rameau, who endeavored to injure me,
    I set to work, and in two months my undertaking was finished. With
    respect to the poetry, it was confined to a mere trifle; I aimed at
    nothing more than to prevent the difference of style from being
    perceived, and had the vanity to think I had succeeded. The musical part
    was longer and more laborious. Besides my having to compose several
    preparatory pieces, and, amongst others, the overture, all the
    recitative, with which I was charged, was extremely difficult on account
    of the necessity there was of connecting, in a few verses, and by very
    rapid modulations, symphonies and choruses, in keys very different from
    each other; for I was determined neither to change nor transpose any of
    the airs, that Rameau might not accuse me of having disfigured them.
    I succeeded in the recitative; it was well accented, full of energy and
    excellent modulation. The idea of two men of superior talents, with whom
    I was associated, had elevated my genius, and I can assert, that in this
    barren and inglorious task, of which the public could have no knowledge,
    I was for the most part equal to my models.

    The piece, in the state to which I had brought it, was rehearsed in the
    great theatre of the opera. Of the three authors who had contributed to
    the production, I was the only one present. Voltaire was not in Paris,
    and Rameau either did not come, or concealed himself. The words of the
    first monologue were very mournful; they began with:

    O Mort! viens terminer les malheurs de ma vie.

    [O Death! hasten to terminate the misfortunes of my life.]

    To these, suitable music was necessary. It was, however, upon this that
    Madam de la Popliniere founded her censure; accusing me, with much
    bitterness, of having composed a funeral anthem. M. de Richelieu very
    judiciously began by informing himself who was the author of the poetry
    of this monologue; I presented him the manuscript he had sent me, which
    proved it was by Voltaire. "In that case," said the duke, "Voltaire
    alone is to blame." During the rehearsal, everything I had done was
    disapproved by Madam de la Popliniere, and approved of by M. de
    Richelieu; but I had afterwards to do with too powerful an adversary.
    It was signified to me that several parts of my composition wanted
    revising, and that on this it was necessary I should consult M. Rameau;
    my heart was wounded by such a conclusion, instead of the eulogium I
    expected, and which certainly I merited, and I returned to my apartment
    overwhelmed with grief, exhausted with fatigue, and consumed by chagrin.
    I was immediately taken ill, and confined to my chamber for upwards of
    six weeks.

    Rameau, who was charged with the alterations indicated by Madam de la
    Popliniere, sent to ask me for the overture of my great opera, to
    substitute it to that I had just composed. Happily I perceived the trick
    he intended to play me, and refused him the overture. As the performance
    was to be in five or six days, he had not time to make one, and was
    obliged to leave that I had prepared. It was in the Italian taste, and
    in a style at that time quite new in France. It gave satisfaction, and I
    learned from M. de Valmalette, maitre d'hotel to the king, and son-in-law
    to M. Mussard, my relation and friend, that the connoisseurs were highly
    satisfied with my work, and that the public had not distinguished it from
    that of Rameau. However, he and Madam de la Popliniere took measures to
    prevent any person from knowing I had any concern in the matter. In the
    books distributed to the audience, and in which the authors are always
    named, Voltaire was the only person mentioned, and Rameau preferred the
    suppression of his own name to seeing it associated with mine.

    As soon as I was in a situation to leave my room, I wished to wait upon
    M. de Richelieu, but it was too late; he had just set off for Dunkirk,
    where he was to command the expedition destined to Scotland. At his
    return, said I to myself, to authorize my idleness, it will be too late
    for my purpose, not having seen him since that time. I lost the honor of
    mywork and the emoluments it should have produced me, besides considering
    my time, trouble, grief, and vexation, my illness, and the money this cost
    me, without ever receiving the least benefit, or rather, recompense.
    However, I always thought M. de Richelieu was disposed to serve me, and
    that he had a favorable opinion of my talents; but my misfortune, and
    Madam de la Popliniere, prevented the effect of his good wishes.

    I could not divine the reason of the aversion this lady had to me. I had
    always endeavored to make myself agreeable to her, and regularly paid her
    my court. Gauffecourt explained to me the causes of her dislike: "The
    first," said he, "is her friendship for Rameau, of whom she is the
    declared panegyrist, and who will not suffer a competitor; the next is an
    original sin, which ruins you in her estimation, and which she will never
    forgive; you are a Genevese." Upon this he told me the Abbe Hubert, who
    was from the same city, and the sincere friend of M. de la Popliniere,
    had used all his efforts to prevent him from marrying this lady, with
    whose character and temper he was very well acquainted; and that after
    the marriage she had vowed him an implacable hatred, as well as all the
    Genevese. "Although La Popliniere has a friendship for you, do not,"
    said he, "depend upon his protection: he is still in love with his wife:
    she hates you, and is vindictive and artful; you will never do anything
    in that house." All this I took for granted.

    The same Gauffecourt rendered me much about this time, a service of which
    I stood in the greatest need. I had just lost my virtuous father, who
    was about sixty years of age. I felt this loss less severely than I
    should have done at any other time, when the embarrassments of my
    situation had less engaged my attention. During his life-time I had
    never claimed what remained of the property of my mother, and of which he
    received the little interest. His death removed all my scruples upon
    this subject. But the want of a legal proof of the death of my brother
    created a difficulty which Gauffecourt undertook to remove, and this he
    effected by means of the good offices of the advocate De Lolme. As I
    stood in need of the little resource, and the event being doubtful, I
    waited for a definitive account with the greatest anxiety.

    One evening on entering my apartment I found a letter, which I knew to
    contain the information I wanted, and I took it up with an impatient
    trembling, of which I was inwardly ashamed. What? said I to myself,
    with disdain, shall Jean Jacques thus suffer himself to be subdued by
    interest and curiosity? I immediately laid the letter again upon the
    chimney-piece. I undressed myself, went to bed with great composure,
    slept better than ordinary, and rose in the morning at a late hour,
    without thinking more of my letter. As I dressed myself, it caught my
    eye; I broke the seal very leisurely, and found under the envelope a bill
    of exchange. I felt a variety of pleasing sensations at the same time:
    but I can assert, upon my honor, that the most lively of them all was
    that proceeding from having known how to be master of myself.

    I could mention twenty such circumstances in my life, but I am too much
    pressed for time to say everything. I sent a small part of this money to
    my poor mamma; regretting, with my eyes suffused with tears, the happy
    time when I should have laid it all at her feet. All her letters
    contained evident marks of her distress. She sent me piles of recipes,
    and numerous secrets, with which she pretended I might make my fortune
    and her own. The idea of her wretchedness already affected her heart and
    contracted her mind. The little I sent her fell a prey to the knaves by
    whom she was surrounded; she received not the least advantage from
    anything. The idea of dividing what was necessary to my own subsistence
    with these wretches disgusted me, especially after the vain attempt I had
    made to deliver her from them, and of which I shall have occasion to
    speak. Time slipped away, and with it the little money I had; we were
    two, or indeed, four persons; or, to speak still more correctly, seven or
    eight. Although Theresa was disinterested to a degree of which there are
    but few examples, her mother was not so. She was no sooner a little
    relieved from her necessities by my cares, than she sent for her whole
    family to partake of the fruits of them. Her sisters, sons, daughters,
    all except her eldest daughter, married to the director of the coaches of
    Augers, came to Paris. Everything I did for Theresa, her mother diverted
    from its original destination in favor of these people who were starving.
    I had not to do with an avaricious person; and, not being under the
    influence of an unruly passion, I was not guilty of follies. Satisfied
    with genteelly supporting Theresa without luxury, and unexposed to
    pressing wants, I readily consented to let all the earnings of her
    industry go to the profit of her mother; and to this even I did not
    confine myself; but, by a fatality by which I was pursued, whilst mamma
    was a prey to the rascals about her Theresa was the same to her family;
    and I could not do anything on either side for the benefit of her to whom
    the succor I gave was destined. It was odd enough the youngest child of
    M. de la Vasseur, the only one who had not received a marriage portion
    from her parents, should provide for their subsistence; and that, after
    having along time been beaten by her brothers, sisters, and even her
    nieces, the poor girl should be plundered by them all, without being more
    able to defend herself from their thefts than from their blows. One of
    her nieces, named Gorton le Duc, was of a mild and amiable character;
    although spoiled by the lessons and examples of the others. As I
    frequently saw them together, I gave them names, which they afterwards
    gave to each other; I called the niece my niece, and the aunt my aunt;
    they both called me uncle. Hence the name of aunt, by which I continued
    to call Theresa, and which my friends sometimes jocosely repeated. It
    will be judged that in such a situation I had not a moment to lose,
    before I attempted to extricate myself. Imagining M. de Richelieu had
    forgotten me, and having no more hopes from the court, I made some
    attempts to get my opera brought out at Paris; but I met with
    difficulties which could not immediately be removed, and my situation
    became daily more painful. I presented my little comedy of Narcisse to
    the Italians; it was received, and I had the freedom of the theatre,
    which gave much pleasure. But this was all; I could never get my piece
    performed, and, tired of paying my court to players, I gave myself no
    more trouble about them. At length I had recourse to the last expedient
    which remained to me, and the only one of which I ought to have made use.
    While frequenting the house of M. de la Popliniere, I had neglected the
    family of Dupin. The two ladies, although related, were not on good
    terms, and never saw each other. There was not the least intercourse
    between the two families, and Thieriot was the only person who visited
    both. He was desired to endeavor to bring me again to M. Dupin's. M. de
    Francueil was then studying natural history and chemistry, and collecting
    a cabinet. I believe he aspired to become a member of the Academy of
    Sciences; to this effect he intended to write a book, and judged I might
    be of use to him in the undertaking. Madam de Dupin, who, on her part,
    had another work in contemplation, had much the same views in respect to
    me. They wished to have me in common as a kind of secretary, and this
    was the reason of the invitations of Thieriot.

    I required that M. de Francueil should previously employ his interest
    with that of Jelyote to get my work rehearsed at the operahouse; to this
    he consented. The Muses Galantes were several times rehearsed, first at
    the Magazine, and afterwards in the great theatre. The audience was very
    numerous at the great rehearsal, and several parts of the composition
    were highly applauded. However, during this rehearsal, very
    ill-conducted by Rebel, I felt the piece would not be received; and that,
    before it could appear, great alterations were necessary. I therefore
    withdrew it without saying a word, or exposing myself to a refusal;
    but I plainly perceived, by several indications, that the work, had it
    been perfect, could not have succeeded. M. de Francueil had promised me
    to get it rehearsed, but not that it should be received. He exactly kept
    his word. I thought I perceived on this occasion, as well as many
    others, that neither Madam Dupin nor himself were willing I should
    acquire a certain reputation in the world, lest, after the publication of
    their books, it should be supposed they had grafted their talents upon
    mine. Yet as Madam Dupin always supposed those I had to be very
    moderate, and never employed me except it was to write what she dictated,
    or in researches of pure erudition, the reproach, with respect to her,
    would have been unjust.

    This last failure of success completed my discouragement. I abandoned
    every prospect of fame and advancement; and, without further troubling my
    head about real or imaginary talents, with which I had so little success,
    I dedicated my whole time and cares to procure myself and Theresa a
    subsistence in the manner most pleasing to those to whom it should be
    agreeable to provide for it. I therefore entirely attached myself to
    Madam Dupin and M. de Francueil. This did not place me in a very opulent
    situation; for with eight or nine hundred livres, which I had the first
    two years, I had scarcely enough to provide for my primary wants; being
    obliged to live in their neighborhood, a dear part of the town, in a
    furnished lodging, and having to pay for another lodging at the extremity
    of Paris, at the very top of the Rue Saint Jacques, to which, let the
    weather be as it would, I went almost every evening to supper. I soon
    got into the track of my new occupations, and conceived a taste for them.
    I attached myself to the study of chemistry, and attended several courses
    of it with M. de Francueil at M. Rouelle's, and we began to scribble over
    paper upon that science, of which we scarcely possessed the elements.
    In 1717, we went to pass the autumn in Tourraine, at the castle of
    Chenonceaux, a royal mansion upon the Cher, built by Henry the II, for
    Diana of Poitiers, of whom the ciphers are still seen, and which is now
    in the possession of M. Dupin, a farmer general. We amused ourselves
    very agreeably in this beautiful place, and lived very well: I became as
    fat there as a monk. Music was a favorite relaxation. I composed
    several trios full of harmony, and of which I may perhaps speak in my
    supplement if ever I should write one. Theatrical performances were
    another resource. I wrote a comedy in fifteen days, entitled
    'l'Engagement Temeraire',--[The Rash Engagement]--which will be found
    amongst my papers; it has no other merit than that of being lively.
    I composed several other little things: amongst others a poem entitled,
    'l'Aliee de Sylvie', from the name of an alley in the park upon the bank
    of the Cher; and this without discontinuing my chemical studies, or
    interrupting what I had to do for Madam Dupin.

    Whilst I was increasing my corpulency at Chenonceaux, that of my poor
    Theresa was augmented at Paris in another manner, and at my return I
    found the work I had put upon the frame in greater forwardness than I had
    expected. This, on account of my situation, would have thrown me into
    the greatest embarrassment, had not one of my messmates furnished me with
    the only resource which could relieve me from it. This is one of those
    essential narratives which I cannot give with too much simplicity;
    because, in making an improper use of their names, I should either excuse
    or inculpate myself, both of which in this place are entirely out of the

    During the residence of Altuna at Paris, instead of going to eat at a
    'Traiteurs', he and I commonly eat in the neighborhood, almost opposite
    the cul de sac of the opera, at the house of a Madam la Selle, the wife
    of a tailor, who gave but very ordinary dinners, but whose table was much
    frequented on account of the safe company which generally resorted to it;
    no person was received without being introduced by one of those who used
    the house. The commander, De Graville, an old debauchee, with much wit
    and politeness, but obscene in conversation, lodged at the house, and
    brought to it a set of riotous and extravagant young men; officers in the
    guards and mousquetaires. The Commander de Nonant, chevalier to all the
    girls of the opera, was the daily oracle, who conveyed to us the news of
    this motley crew. M. du Plessis, a lieutenant-colonel, retired from the
    service, an old man of great goodness and wisdom; and M. Ancelet,

    [It was to this M. Ancelet I gave a little comedy, after my own
    manner entitled 'les Prisouniers de Guerre', which I wrote after the
    disasters of the French in Bavaria and Bohemia: I dared not either
    avow this comedy or show it, and this for the singular reason that
    neither the King of France nor the French were ever better spoken of
    nor praised with more sincerity of heart than in my piece though
    written by a professed republican, I dared not declare myself the
    panegyrist of a nation, whose maxims were exactly the reverse of my
    own. More grieved at the misfortunes of France than the French
    themselves I was afraid the public would construe into flattery and
    mean complaisance the marks of a sincere attachment, of which in my
    first part I have mentioned the date and the cause, and which I was
    ashamed to show.]

    an officer in the mousquetaires kept the young people in a certain kind
    of order. This table was also frequented by commercial people,
    financiers and contractors, but extremely polite, and such as were
    distinguished amongst those of the same profession. M. de Besse, M. de
    Forcade, and others whose names I have forgotten, in short, well-dressed
    people of every description were seen there; except abbes and men of the
    long robe, not one of whom I ever met in the house, and it was agreed not
    to introduce men of either of these professions. This table,
    sufficiently resorted to, was very cheerful without being noisy, and many
    of the guests were waggish, without descending to vulgarity. The old
    commander with all his smutty stories, with respect to the substance,
    never lost sight of the politeness of the old court; nor did any indecent
    expression, which even women would not have pardoned him, escape his
    lips. His manner served as a rule to every person at table; all the
    young men related their adventures of gallantry with equal grace and
    freedom, and these narratives were the more complete, as the seraglio was
    at the door; the entry which led to it was the same; for there was a
    communication between this and the shop of Le Duchapt, a celebrated
    milliner, who at that time had several very pretty girls, with whom our
    young people went to chat before or after dinner. I should thus have
    amused myself as well as the rest, had I been less modest: I had only to
    go in as they did, but this I never had courage enough to do. With
    respect to Madam de Selle, I often went to eat at her house after the
    departure of Altuna. I learned a great number of amusing anecdotes, and
    by degrees I adopted, thank God, not the morals, but the maxims I found
    to be established there. Honest men injured, husbands deceived, women
    seduced, were the most ordinary topics, and he who had best filled the
    foundling hospital was always the most applauded. I caught the manners
    I daily had before my eyes: I formed my manner of thinking upon that I
    observed to be the reigning one amongst amiable: and upon the whole, very
    honest people. I said to myself, since it is the custom of the country,
    they who live here may adopt it; this is the expedient for which I
    sought. I cheerfully determined upon it without the least scruple, and
    the only one I had to overcome was that of Theresa, whom, with the
    greatest imaginable difficulty, I persuaded to adopt this only means of
    saving her honor. Her mother, who was moreover apprehensive of a new
    embarrassment by an increase of family, came to my aid, and she at length
    suffered herself to be prevailed upon. We made choice of a midwife, a
    safe and prudent woman, Mademoiselle Gouin, who lived at the Point Saint
    Eustache, and when the time came, Theresa was conducted to her house by
    her mother.

    I went thither several times to see her, and gave her a cipher which I
    had made double upon two cards; one of them was put into the linen of the
    child, and by the midwife deposited with the infant in the office of the
    foundling hospital according to the customary form. The year following,
    a similar inconvenience was remedied by the same expedient, excepting the
    cipher, which was forgotten: no more reflection on my part, nor
    approbation on that of the mother; she obeyed with trembling. All the
    vicissitudes which this fatal conduct has produced in my manner of
    thinking, as well as in my destiny, will be successively seen. For the
    present, we will confine ourselves to this first period; its cruel and
    unforeseen consequences will but too frequently oblige me to refer to it.

    I here mark that of my first acquaintance with Madam D'Epinay, whose name
    will frequently appear in these memoirs. She was a Mademoiselle D'
    Esclavelles, and had lately been married to M. D'Epinay, son of M. de
    Lalive de Bellegarde, a farmer general. She understood music, and a
    passion for the art produced between these three persons the greatest
    intimacy. Madam Prancueil introduced me to Madam D'Epinay, and we
    sometimes supped together at her house. She was amiable, had wit and
    talent, and was certainly a desirable acquaintance; but she had a female
    friend, a Mademoiselle d'Ette, who was said to have much malignancy in
    her disposition; she lived with the Chevalier de Valory, whose temper was
    far from being one of the best. I am of opinion, an acquaintance with
    these two persons was prejudicial to Madam D'Epinay, to whom, with a
    disposition which required the greatest attention from those about her,
    nature had given very excellent qualities to regulate or counterbalance
    her extravagant pretensions. M. de Francueil inspired her with a part of
    the friendship he had conceived for me, and told me of the connection
    between them, of which, for that reason, I would not now speak, were it
    not become so public as not to be concealed from M. D'Epinay himself.

    M. de Francueil confided to me secrets of a very singular nature relative
    to this lady, of which she herself never spoke to me, nor so much as
    suspected my having a knowledge; for I never opened my lips to her upon
    the subject, nor will I ever do it to any person. The confidence all
    parties had in my prudence rendered my situation very embarrassing,
    especially with Madam de Francueil, whose knowledge of me was sufficient
    to remove from her all suspicion on my account, although I was connected
    with her rival. I did everything I could to console this poor woman,
    whose husband certainly did not return the affection she had for him.
    I listened to these three persons separately; I kept all their secrets so
    faithfully that not one of the three ever drew from me those of the two
    others, and this, without concealing from either of the women my
    attachment to each of them. Madam de Francueil, who frequently wished to
    make me an agent, received refusals in form, and Madam D'Epinay, once
    desiring me to charge myself with a letter to M. de Francueil received
    the same mortification, accompanied by a very express declaration, that
    if ever she wished to drive me forever from the house, she had only a
    second time to make me a like proposition.

    In justice to Madam D'Epinay, I must say, that far from being offended
    with me she spoke of my conduct to M. de Francueil in terms of the
    highest approbation, and continued to receive me as well, and as politely
    as ever. It was thus, amidst the heart-burnings of three persons to whom
    I was obliged to behave with the greatest circumspection, on whom I in
    some measure depended, and for whom I had conceived an attachment, that
    by conducting myself with mildness and complaisance, although accompanied
    with the greatest firmness, I preserved unto the last not only their
    friendship, but their esteem and confidence. Notwithstanding my
    absurdities and awkwardness, Madam D'Epinay would have me make one of the
    party to the Chevrette, a country-house, near Saint Denis, belonging to
    M. de Bellegarde. There was a theatre, in which performances were not
    unfrequent. I had a part given me, which I studied for six months
    without intermission, and in which, on the evening of the representation,
    I was obliged to be prompted from the beginning to the end. After this
    experiment no second proposal of the kind was ever made to me.

    My acquaintance with M. D'Epinay procured me that of her sister-in-law,
    Mademoiselle de Bellegarde, who soon afterwards became Countess of
    Houdetot. The first time I saw her she was upon the point of marriage;
    when she conversed with me a long time, with that charming familiarity
    which was natural to her. I thought her very amiable, but I was far from
    perceiving that this young person would lead me, although innocently,
    into the abyss in which I still remain.

    Although I have not spoken of Diderot since my return from Venice, no
    more than of my friend M. Roguin, I did not neglect either of them,
    especially the former, with whom I daily became more intimate. He had a
    Nannette, as well as I a Theresa; this was between us another conformity
    of circumstances. But my Theresa, as fine a woman as his Nannette, was
    of a mild and amiable character, which might gain and fix the affections
    of a worthy man; whereas Nannette was a vixen, a troublesome prater, and
    had no qualities in the eyes of others which in any measure compensated
    for her want of education. However he married her, which was well done
    of him, if he had given a promise to that effect. I, for my part, not
    having entered into any such engagement, was not in the least haste to
    imitate him.

    I was also connected with the Abbe de Condillac, who had acquired no more
    literary fame than myself, but in whom there was every appearance of his
    becoming what he now is. I was perhaps the first who discovered the
    extent of his abilities, and esteemed them as they deserved. He on his
    part seemed satisfied with me, and, whilst shut up in my chamber in the
    Rue Jean Saint Denis, near the opera-house, I composed my act of Hesiod,
    he sometimes came to dine with me tete-a-tete. We sent for our dinner,
    and paid share and share alike. He was at that time employed on his
    Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge, which was his first work. When
    this was finished, the difficulty was to find a bookseller who would take
    it. The booksellers of Paris are shy of every author at his beginning,
    and metaphysics, not much then in vogue, were no very inviting subject.
    I spoke to Diderot of Condillac and his work, and I afterwards brought
    them acquainted with each other. They were worthy of each other's
    esteem, and were presently on the most friendly terms. Diderot persuaded
    the bookseller, Durand, to take the manuscript from the abbe, and this
    great metaphysician received for his first work, and almost as a favor,
    a hundred crowns, which perhaps he would not have obtained without my
    assistance. As we lived in a quarter of the town very distant from each
    other, we all assembled once a week at the Palais Royal, and went to dine
    at the Hotel du Panier Fleuri. These little weekly dinners must have
    been extremely pleasing to Diderot; for he who failed in almost all his
    appointments never missed one of these. At our little meeting I formed
    the plan of a periodical paper, entitled 'le Persifleur'--[The Jeerer]
    --which Diderot and I were alternately to write. I sketched out the first
    sheet, and this brought me acquainted with D'Alembert, to whom Diderot
    had mentioned it. Unforeseen events frustrated our intention, and the
    project was carried no further.

    These two authors had just undertaken the 'Dictionnaire Encyclopedique',
    which at first was intended to be nothing more than a kind of translation
    of Chambers, something like that of the Medical Dictionary of James,
    which Diderot had just finished. Diderot was desirous I should do
    something in this second undertaking, and proposed to me the musical
    part, which I accepted. This I executed in great haste, and consequently
    very ill, in the three months he had given me, as well as all the authors
    who were engaged in the work. But I was the only person in readiness at
    the time prescribed. I gave him my manuscript, which I had copied by a
    laquais, belonging to M. de Francueil of the name of Dupont, who wrote
    very well. I paid him ten crowns out of my own pocket, and these have
    never been reimbursed me. Diderot had promised me a retribution on the
    part of the booksellers, of which he has never since spoken to me nor I
    to him.

    This undertaking of the 'Encyclopedie' was interrupted by his
    imprisonment. The 'Pensees Philosophiquiest' drew upon him some
    temporary inconvenience which had no disagreeable consequences. He did
    not come off so easily on account of the 'Lettre sur les Aveugles',
    --[Letter concerning blind persons.]--in which there was nothing
    reprehensible, but some personal attacks with which Madam du Pre St.
    Maur, and M. de Raumur were displeased: for this he was confined in the
    dungeon of Vincennes. Nothing can describe the anguish I felt on account
    of the misfortunes of my friend. My wretched imagination, which always
    sees everything in the worst light, was terrified. I imagined him to be
    confined for the remainder of his life. I was almost distracted with the
    thought. I wrote to Madam de Pompadour, beseeching her to release him or
    obtain an order to shut me up in the same dungeon. I received no answer
    to my letter: this was too reasonable to be efficacious, and I do not
    flatter myself that it contributed to the alleviation which, some time
    afterwards, was granted to the severities of the confinement of poor
    Diderot. Had this continued for any length of time with the same rigor,
    I verily believe I should have died in despair at the foot of the hated
    dungeon. However, if my letter produced but little effect, I did not on
    account of it attribute to myself much merit, for I mentioned it but to
    very few people, and never to Diderot himself.

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