Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost."
    More: Art quotes

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Book X

    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 11
    Previous Chapter
    The extraordinary degree of strength a momentary effervescence had given
    me to quit the Hermitage, left me the moment I was out of it. I was
    scarcely established in my new habitation before I frequently suffered
    from retentions, which were accompanied by a new complaint; that of a
    rupture, from which I had for some time, without knowing what it was,
    felt great inconvenience. I soon was reduced to the most cruel state.
    The physician Thieiry, my old friend, came to see me, and made me
    acquainted with my situation. The sight of all the apparatus of the
    infirmities of years, made me severely feel that when the body is no
    longer young, the heart is not so with impunity. The fine season did not
    restore me, and I passed the whole year, 1758, in a state of languor,
    which made me think I was almost at the end of my career. I saw, with
    impatience, the closing scene approach. Recovered from the chimeras of
    friendship, and detached from everything which had rendered life
    desirable to me, I saw nothing more in it that could make it agreeable;
    all I perceived was wretchedness and misery, which prevented me from
    enjoying myself. I sighed after the moment when I was to be free and
    escape from my enemies. But I must follow the order of events.

    My retreat to Montmorency seemed to disconcert Madam d'Epinay; probably
    she did not expect it. My melancholy situation, the severity of the
    season, the general dereliction of me by my friends, all made her and
    Grimm believe, that by driving me to the last extremity, they should
    oblige me to implore mercy, and thus, by vile meanness, render myself
    contemptible, to be suffered to remain in an asylum which honor commanded
    me to leave. I left it so suddenly that they had not time to prevent the
    step from being taken, and they were reduced to the alternative of double
    or quit, to endeavor to ruin me entirely, or to prevail upon me to
    return. Grimm chose the former; but I am of opinion Madam d'Epinay would
    have preferred the latter, and this from her answer to my last letter,
    in which she seemed to have laid aside the airs she had given herself in
    the preceding ones, and to give an opening to an accommodation. The long
    delay of this answer, for which she made me wait a whole month,
    sufficiently indicates the difficulty she found in giving it a proper
    turn, and the deliberations by which it was preceded. She could not make
    any further advances without exposing herself; but after her former
    letters, and my sudden retreat from her house, it is impossible not to be
    struck with the care she takes in this letter not to suffer an offensive
    expression to escape her. I will copy it at length to enable my reader
    to judge of what she wrote:

    GENEVA, January 17, 1758.

    "SIR: I did not receive your letter of the 17th of December until
    yesterday. It was sent me in a box filled with different things, and
    which has been all this time upon the road. I shall answer only the
    postscript. You may recollect, sir, that we agreed the wages of the
    gardener of the Hermitage should pass through your hands, the better to
    make him feel that he depended upon you, and to avoid the ridiculous and
    indecent scenes which happened in the time of his predecessor. As a
    proof of this, the first quarter of his wages were given to you, and a
    few days before my departure we agreed I should reimburse you what you
    had advanced. I know that of this you, at first, made some difficulty;
    but I had desired you to make these advances; it was natural I should
    acquit myself towards you, and this we concluded upon. Cahouet informs
    me that you refused to receive the money. There is certainly some
    mistake in the matter. I have given orders that it may again be offered
    to you, and I see no reason for your wishing to pay my gardener,
    notwithstanding our conventions, and beyond the term even of your
    inhabiting the Hermitage. I therefore expect, sir, that recollecting
    everything I have the honor to state, you will not refuse to be
    reimbursed for the sums you have been pleased to advance for me."

    After what had passed, not having the least confidence in Madam d'
    Epinay, I was unwilling to renew my connection with her; I returned no
    answer to this letter, and there our correspondence ended. Perceiving I
    had taken my resolution, she took hers; and, entering into all the views
    of Grimm and the Coterie Holbachique, she united her efforts with theirs
    to accomplish my destruction. Whilst they manoevured at Paris, she did
    the same at Geneva. Grimm, who afterwards went to her there, completed
    what she had begun. Tronchin, whom they had no difficulty in gaining
    over, seconded them powerfully, and became the most violent of my
    persecutors, without having against me, any more than Grimm had, the
    least subject of complaint. They all three spread in silence that of
    which the effects were seen there four years afterwards.

    They had more trouble at Paris, where I was better known to the citizens,
    whose hearts, less disposed to hatred, less easily received its
    impressions. The better to direct their blow, they began by giving out
    that it was I who had left them. Thence, still feigning to be my
    friends, they dexterously spread their malignant accusations by
    complaining of the injustice of their friend. Their auditors, thus
    thrown off their guard, listened more attentively to what was said of me,
    and were inclined to blame my conduct. The secret accusations of perfidy
    and ingratitude were made with greater precaution, and by that means with
    greater effect. I knew they imputed to me the most atrocious crimes
    without being able to learn in what these consisted. All I could infer
    from public rumor was that this was founded upon the four following
    capital offences: my retiring to the country; my passion for Madam
    d'Houdetot; my refusing to accompany Madam d'Epinay to Geneva, and my
    leaving the Hermitage. If to these they added other griefs, they took
    their measures so well that it has hitherto been impossible for me to
    learn the subject of them.

    It is therefore at this period that I think I may fix the establishment
    of a system, since adopted by those by whom my fate has been determined,
    and which has made such a progress as will seem miraculous to persons who
    know not with what facility everything which favors the malignity of man
    is established. I will endeavor to explain in a few words what to me
    appeared visible in this profound and obscure system.

    With a name already distinguished and known throughout all Europe, I had
    still preserved my primitive simplicity. My mortal aversion to all party
    faction and cabal had kept me free and independent, without any other
    chain than the attachments of my heart. Alone, a stranger, without
    family or fortune, and unconnected with everything except my principles
    and duties, I intrepidly followed the paths of uprightness, never
    flattering or favoring any person at the expense of truth and justice.
    Besides, having lived for two years past in solitude, without observing
    the course of events, I was unconnected with the affairs of the world,
    and not informed of what passed, nor desirous of being acquainted with
    it. I lived four leagues from Paris as much separated from that.
    capital by my negligence as I should have been in the Island of Tinian by
    the sea.

    Grimm, Diderot and D'Holbach were, on the contrary, in the centre of the
    vortex, lived in the great world, and divided amongst them almost all the
    spheres of it. The great wits, men of letters, men of long robe, and
    women, all listened to them when they chose to act in concert. The
    advantage three men in this situation united must have over a fourth in
    mine, cannot but already appear. It is true Diderot and D'Holbach were
    incapable, at least I think so, of forming black conspiracies; one of
    them was not base enough, nor the other sufficiently able; but it was for
    this reason that the party was more united. Grimm alone formed his plan
    in his own mind, and discovered more of it than was necessary to induce
    his associates to concur in the execution. The ascendency he had gained
    over them made this quite easy, and the effect of the whole answered to
    the superiority of his talents.

    It was with these, which were of a superior kind, that, perceiving the
    advantage he might acquire from our respective situations, he conceived
    the project of overturning my reputation, and, without exposing himself,
    of giving me one of a nature quite opposite, by raising up about me an
    edifice of obscurity which it was impossible for me to penetrate, and by
    that means throw a light upon his manoevures and unmask him.

    This enterprise was difficult, because it was necessary to palliate the
    iniquity in the eyes of those of whose assistance he stood in need.
    He had honest men to deceive, to alienate from me the good opinion of
    everybody, and to deprive me of all my friends. What say I? He had to
    cut off all communication with me, that not a single word of truth might
    reach my ears. Had a single man of generosity come and said to me, "You
    assume the appearance of virtue, yet this is the manner in which you are
    treated, and these the circumstances by which you are judged: what have
    you to say?" truth would have triumphed and Grimm have been undone.
    Of this he was fully convinced; but he had examined his own heart and
    estimated men according to their merit. I am sorry, for the honor of
    humanity, that he judged with so much truth.

    In these dark and crooked paths his steps to be the more sure were
    necessarily slow. He has for twelve years pursued his plan and the most
    difficult part of the execution of it is still to come; this is to
    deceive the public entirely. He is afraid of this public, and dares not
    lay his conspiracy open.

    [Since this was written he has made the dangerous step with the
    fullest and most inconceivable success. I am of opinion it was
    Tronchin who inspired him with courage, and supplied him with the

    But he has found the easy means of accompanying it with power, and this
    power has the disposal of me. Thus supported he advances with less
    danger. The agents of power piquing themselves but little on
    uprightness, and still less on candor, he has no longer the indiscretion
    of an honest man to fear. His safety is in my being enveloped in an
    impenetrable obscurity, and in concealing from me his conspiracy, well
    knowing that with whatever art he may have formed it, I could by a single
    glance of the eye discover the whole. His great address consists in
    appearing to favor whilst he defames me, and in giving to his perfidy an
    air of generosity.

    I felt the first effects of this system by the secret accusations of the
    Coterie Holbachiens without its being possible for me to know in what the
    accusations consisted, or to form a probable conjecture as to the nature
    of them. De Leyre informed me in his letters that heinous things were
    attributed to me. Diderot more mysteriously told me the same thing, and
    when I came to an explanation with both, the whole was reduced to the
    heads of accusation of which I have already spoken. I perceived a
    gradual increase of coolness in the letters from Madam d'Houdetot. This
    I could not attribute to Saint Lambert; he continued to write to me with
    the same friendship, and came to see me after his return. It was also
    impossible to think myself the cause of it, as we had separated well
    satisfied with each other, and nothing since that time had happened on my
    part, except my departure from the Hermitage, of which she felt the
    necessity. Therefore, not knowing whence this coolness, which she
    refused to acknowledge, although my heart was not to be deceived, could
    proceed, I was uneasy upon every account. I knew she greatly favored her
    sister-in-law and Grimm, in consequence of their connections with Saint
    Lambert; and I was afraid of their machinations. This agitation opened
    my wounds, and rendered my correspondence so disagreeable as quite to
    disgust her with it. I saw, as at a distance, a thousand cruel
    circumstances, without discovering anything distinctly. I was in a
    situation the most insupportable to a man whose imagination is easily
    heated. Had I been quite retired from the world, and known nothing of
    the matter I should have become more calm; but my heart still clung to
    attachments, by means of which my enemies had great advantages over me;
    and the feeble rays which penetrated my asylum conveyed to me nothing
    more than a knowledge of the blackness of the mysteries which were
    concealed from my eyes.

    I should have sunk, I have not a doubt of it, under these torments, too
    cruel and insupportable to my open disposition, which, by the
    impossibility of concealing my sentiments, makes me fear everything from
    those concealed from me, if fortunately objects sufficiently interesting
    to my heart to divert it from others with which, in spite of myself, my
    imagination was filled, had not presented themselves. In the last visit
    Diderot paid me, at the Hermitage, he had spoken of the article 'Geneva',
    which D'Alembert had inserted in the 'Encyclopedie'; he had informed me
    that this article, concerted with people of the first consideration, had
    for object the establishment of a theatre at Geneva, that measures had
    been taken accordingly, and that the establishment would soon take place.
    As Diderot seemed to think all this very proper, and did not doubt of the
    success of the measure, and as I had besides to speak to him upon too
    many other subjects to touch upon that article, I made him no answer: but
    scandalized at these preparatives to corruption and licentiousness in my
    country, I waited with impatience for the volume of the 'Encyclopedie',
    in which the article was inserted; to see whether or not it would be
    possible to give an answer which might ward off the blow. I received the
    volume soon after my establishment at Mont Louis, and found the articles
    to be written with much art and address, and worthy of the pen whence it
    proceeded. This, however, did not abate my desire to answer it, and
    notwithstanding the dejection of spirits I then labored under, my griefs
    and pains, the severity of the season, and the inconvenience of my new
    abode, in which I had not yet had time to arrange myself, I set to work
    with a zeal which surmounted every obstacle.

    In a severe winter, in the month of February, and in the situation I have
    described, I went every day, morning and evening, to pass a couple of
    hours in an open alcove which was at the bottom of the garden in which my
    habitation stood. This alcove, which terminated an alley of a terrace,
    looked upon the valley and the pond of Montmorency, and presented to me,
    as the closing point of a prospect, the plain but respectable castle of
    St. Gratien, the retreat of the virtuous Catinat. It was in this place,
    then, exposed to freezing cold, that without being sheltered from the
    wind and snow, and having no other fire than that in my heart; I
    composed, in the space of three weeks, my letter to D'Alembert on
    theatres. It was in this, for my 'Eloisa' was not then half written,
    that I found charms in philosophical labor. Until then virtuous
    indignation had been a substitute to Apollo, tenderness and a gentleness
    of mind now became so. The injustice I had been witness to had irritated
    me, that of which I became the object rendered me melancholy; and this
    melancholy without bitterness was that of a heart too tender and
    affectionate, and which, deceived by those in whom it had confided, was
    obliged to remain concentred. Full of that which had befallen me, and
    still affected by so many violent emotions, my heart added the sentiment
    of its sufferings to the ideas with which a meditation on my subject had
    inspired me; what I wrote bore evident marks of this mixture. Without
    perceiving it I described the situation I was then in, gave portraits of
    Grimm, Madam d'Epinay, Madam d' Houdetot, Saint Lambert and myself. What
    delicious tears did I shed as I wrote! Alas! in these descriptions
    there are proofs but too evident that love, the fatal love of which I
    made such efforts to cure myself, still remained in my heart. With all
    this there was a certain sentiment of tenderness relative to myself; I
    thought I was dying, and imagined I bid the public my last adieu. Far
    from fearing death, I joyfully saw it approach; but I felt some regret at
    leaving my fellow creatures without their having perceived my real merit,
    and being convinced how much I should have deserved their esteem had they
    known me better. These are the secret causes of the singular manner in
    which this work, opposite to that of the work by which it was preceded,
    is written.--[Discours sur l'Inegalite. Discourse on the Inequality of

    I corrected and copied the letter, and was preparing to print it when,
    after a long silence, I received one from Madam d'Houdetot, which brought
    upon me a new affliction more painful than any I had yet suffered. She
    informed me that my passion for her was known to all Paris, that I had
    spoken of it to persons who had made it public, that this rumor, having
    reached the ears of her lover, had nearly cost him his life; yet he did
    her justice, and peace was restored between them; but on his account, as
    well as on hers, and for the sake of her reputation, she thought it her
    duty to break off all correspondence with me, at the same time assuring
    me that she and her friend were both interested in my welfare, that they
    would defend me to the public, and that she herself would, from time to
    time, send to inquire after my health.

    "And thou also, Diderot," exclaimed I, "unworthy friend!"

    I could not, however, yet resolve to condemn him. My weakness was known
    to others who might have spoken of it. I wished to doubt, but this was
    soon out of my power. Saint Lambert shortly after performed an action
    worthy of himself. Knowing my manner of thinking, he judged of the state
    in which I must be; betrayed by one part of my friends and forsaken by
    the other. He came to see me. The first time he had not many moments to
    spare. He came again. Unfortunately, not expecting him, I was not at
    home. Theresa had with him a conversation of upwards of two hours, in
    which they informed each other of facts of great importance to us all.
    The surprise with which I learned that nobody doubted of my having lived
    with Madam d'Epinay, as Grimm then did, cannot be equalled, except by
    that of Saint Lambert, when he was convinced that the rumor was false.
    He, to the great dissatisfaction of the lady, was in the same situation
    with myself, and the eclaircissements resulting from the conversation
    removed from me all regret, on account of my having broken with her
    forever. Relative to Madam d'Houdetot, he mentioned several
    circumstances with which neither Theresa nor Madam d'Houdetot herself
    were acquainted; these were known to me only in the first instance, and I
    had never mentioned them except to Diderot, under the seal of friendship;
    and it was to Saint Lambert himself to whom he had chosen to communicate
    them. This last step was sufficient to determine me. I resolved to
    break with Diderot forever, and this without further deliberation, except
    on the manner of doing it; for I had perceived secret ruptures turned to
    my prejudice, because they left the mask of friendship in possession of
    my most cruel enemies.

    The rules of good breeding, established in the world on this head, seem
    to have been dictated by a spirit of treachery and falsehood. To appear
    the friend of a man when in reality we are no longer so, is to reserve to
    ourselves the means of doing him an injury by surprising honest men into
    an error. I recollected that when the illustrious Montesquieu broke with
    Father de Tournemine, he immediately said to everybody: "Listen neither
    to Father Tournemine nor myself, when we speak of each other, for we are
    no longer friends." This open and generous proceeding was universally
    applauded. I resolved to follow the example with Diderot; but what
    method was I to take to publish the rupture authentically from my
    retreat, and yet without scandal? I concluded on inserting in the form
    of a note, in my work, a passage from the book of Ecclesiasticus, which
    declared the rupture and even the subject of it, in terms sufficiently
    clear to such as were acquainted with the previous circumstances, but
    could signify nothing to the rest of the world. I determined not to
    speak in my work of the friend whom I renounced, except with the honor
    always due to extinguished friendship. The whole may be seen in the work

    There is nothing in this world but time and misfortune, and every act of
    courage seems to be a crime in adversity. For that which has been
    admired in Montesquieu, I received only blame and reproach. As soon as
    my work was printed, and I had copies of it, I sent one to Saint Lambert,
    who, the evening before, had written to me in his own name and that of
    Madam d' Houdetot, a note expressive of the most tender friendship.

    The following is the letter he wrote to me when he returned the copy I
    had sent him.

    EAUBONNE, 10th October, 1758.

    "Indeed, sir, I cannot accept the present you have just made me. In that
    part of your preface where, relative to Diderot, you quote a passage from
    Ecclesiastes (he mistakes, it is from Ecclesiasticus) the book dropped
    from my hand. In the conversations we had together in the summer, you
    seemed to be persuaded Diderot was not guilty of the pretended
    indiscretions you had imputed to him. You may, for aught I know to the
    contrary, have reason to complain of him, but this does not give you a
    right to insult him publicly. You are not unacquainted with the nature
    of the persecutions he suffers, and you join the voice of an old friend
    to that of envy. I cannot refrain from telling you, sir, how much this
    heinous act of yours has shocked me. I am not acquainted with Diderot,
    but I honor him, and I have a lively sense of the pain you give to a man,
    whom, at least not in my hearing, you have never reproached with anything
    more than a trifling weakness. You and I, sir, differ too much in our
    principles ever to be agreeable to each other. Forget that I exist; this
    you will easily do. I have never done to men either good or evil of a
    nature to be long remembered. I promise you, sir, to forget your person
    and to remember nothing relative to you but your talents."

    This letter filled me with indignation and affliction; and, in the excess
    of my pangs, feeling my pride wounded, I answered him by the following

    MONTMORUNCY, 11th October, 1758.

    "SIR: While reading your letter, I did you the honor to be surprised at
    it, and had the weakness to suffer it to affect me; but I find it
    unworthy of an answer.

    "I will no longer continue the copies of Madam d'Houdetot. If it be not
    agreeable to her to keep that she has, she may sent it me back and I will
    return her money. If she keeps it, she must still send for the rest of
    her paper and the money; and at the same time I beg she will return me
    the prospectus which she has in her possession. Adieu, sir."

    Courage under misfortune irritates the hearts of cowards, but it is
    pleasing to generous minds. This note seemed to make Saint Lambert
    reflect with himself and to regret his having been so violent; but too
    haughty in his turn to make open advances, he seized and perhaps
    prepared, the opportunity of palliating what he had done.

    A fortnight afterwards I received from Madam d'Epinay the following

    Thursday, 26th.

    "SIR: I received the book you had the goodness to send me, and which I
    have read with much pleasure. I have always experienced the same
    sentiment in reading all the works which have come from your pen.
    Receive my thanks for the whole. I should have returned you these in
    person had my affairs permitted me to remain any time in your
    neighborhood; but I was not this year long at the Chevrette. M. and
    Madam Dupin come there on Sunday to dinner. I expect M. de Saint
    Lambert, M. de Francueil, and Madam d'Houdetot will be of the party;
    you will do me much pleasure by making one also. All the persons who are
    to dine with me, desire, and will, as well as myself, be delighted to
    pass with you a part of the day. I have the honor to be with the most
    perfect consideration," etc.

    This letter made my heart beat violently; after having for a year past
    been the subject of conversation of all Paris, the idea of presenting
    myself as a spectacle before Madam d'Houdetot, made me tremble, and I had
    much difficulty to find sufficient courage to support that ceremony.
    Yet as she and Saint Lambert were desirous of it, and Madam d'Epinay
    spoke in the name of her guests without naming one whom I should not be
    glad to see, I did not think I should expose myself accepting a dinner to
    which I was in some degree invited by all the persons who with myself
    were to partake of it. I therefore promised to go: on Sunday the weather
    was bad, and Madam D'Epinay sent me her carriage.

    My arrival caused a sensation. I never met a better reception. An
    observer would have thought the whole company felt how much I stood in
    need of encouragement. None but French hearts are susceptible of this
    kind of delicacy. However, I found more people than I expected to see.
    Amongst others the Comte d' Houdetot, whom I did not know, and his sister
    Madam de Blainville, without whose company I should have been as well
    pleased. She had the year before came several times to Eaubonne, and her
    sister-in-law had left her in our solitary walks to wait until she
    thought proper to suffer her to join us. She had harbored a resentment
    against me, which during this dinner she gratified at her ease. The
    presence of the Comte d' Houdetot and Saint Lambert did not give me the
    laugh on my side, and it may be judged that a man embarrassed in the most
    common conversations was not very brilliant in that which then took
    place. I never suffered so much, appeared so awkward, or received more
    unexpected mortifications. As soon as we had risen from table, I
    withdrew from that wicked woman; I had the pleasure of seeing Saint
    Lambert and Madam de'Houdetot approach me, and we conversed together a
    part of the afternoon, upon things very indifferent it is true, but with
    the same familiarity as before my involuntary error. This friendly
    attention was not lost upon my heart, and could Saint Lambert have read
    what passed there, he certainly would have been satisfied with it. I can
    safely assert that although on my arrival the presence of Madam
    d'Houdetot gave me the most violent palpitations, on returning from the
    house I scarcely thought of her; my mind was entirely taken up with Saint

    Notwithstanding the malignant sarcasms of Madam de Blainville, the dinner
    was of great service to me, and I congratulated myself upon not having
    refused the invitation. I not only discovered that the intrigues of
    Grimm and the Holbachiens had not deprived me of my old acquaintance,

    [Such is the simplicity of my heart was my opinion when I wrote
    these confessions.]

    but, what flattered me still more, that Madam d'Houdetot and Saint
    Lambert were less changed than I had imagined, and I at length understood
    that his keeping her at a distance from me proceeded more from jealousy
    than from disesteem. This was a consolation to me, and calmed my mind.
    Certain of not being an object of contempt in the eyes of persons whom I
    esteemed, I worked upon my own heart with greater courage and success.
    If I did not quite extinguish in it a guilty and an unhappy passion, I at
    least so well regulated the remains of it that they have never since that
    moment led me into the most trifling error. The copies of Madam d'
    Houdetot, which she prevailed upon me to take again, and my works, which
    I continued to send her as soon as they appeared, produced me from her a
    few notes and messages, indifferent but obliging. She did still more, as
    will hereafter appear, and the reciprocal conduct of her lover and
    myself, after our intercourse had ceased, may serve as an example of the
    manner in which persons of honor separate when it is no longer agreeable
    to them to associate with each other.

    Another advantage this dinner procured me was its being spoken of in
    Paris, where it served as a refutation of the rumor spread by my enemies,
    that I had quarrelled with every person who partook of it, and especially
    with M. d'Epinay. When I left the Hermitage I had written him a very
    polite letter of thanks, to which he answered not less politely, and
    mutual civilities had continued, as well between us as between me and M.
    de la Lalive, his brother-in-law, who even came to see me at Montmorency,
    and sent me some of his engravings. Excepting the two sisters-in-law of
    Madam d'Houdetot, I have never been on bad terms with any person of the

    My letter to D'Alembert had great success. All my works had been very
    well received, but this was more favorable to me. It taught the public
    to guard against the insinuations of the Coterie Holbachique. When I
    went to the Hermitage, this Coterie predicted with its usual sufficiency,
    that I should not remain there three months. When I had stayed there
    twenty months, and was obliged to leave it, I still fixed my residence in
    the country. The Coterie insisted this was from a motive of pure
    obstinacy, and that I was weary even to death of my retirement; but that,
    eaten up with pride, I chose rather to become a victim of my stubbornness
    than to recover from it and return to Paris. The letter to D'Alembert
    breathed a gentleness of mind which every one perceived not to be
    affected. Had I been dissatisfied with my retreat, my style and manner
    would have borne evident marks of my ill-humor. This reigned in all the
    works I had written in Paris; but in the first I wrote in the country not
    the least appearance of it was to be found. To persons who knew how to
    distinguish, this remark was decisive. They perceived I was returned to
    my element.

    Yet the same work, notwithstanding all the mildness it breathed, made me
    by a mistake of my own and my usual ill-luck, another enemy amongst men
    of letters. I had become acquainted with Marmontel at the house of M. de
    la Popliniere, and his acquaintance had been continued at that of the
    baron. Marmontel at that time wrote the 'Mercure de France'. As I had
    too much pride to send my works to the authors of periodical
    publications, and wishing to send him this without his imagining it was
    in consequence of that title, or being desirous he should speak of it in
    the Mercure, I wrote upon the book that it was not for the author of the
    Mercure, but for M. Marmontel. I thought I paid him a fine compliment;
    he mistook it for a cruel offence, and became my irreconcilable enemy.
    He wrote against the letter with politeness, it is true, but with a
    bitterness easily perceptible, and since that time has never lost an
    opportunity of injuring me in society, and of indirectly ill-treating me
    in his works. Such difficulty is there in managing the irritable
    self-love of men of letters, and so careful ought every person to be
    not to leave anything equivocal in the compliments they pay them.

    Having nothing more to disturb me, I took advantage of my leisure and
    independence to continue my literary pursuits with more coherence. I
    this winter finished my Eloisa, and sent it to Rey, who had it printed
    the year following. I was, however, interrupted in my projects by a
    circumstance sufficiently disagreeable. I heard new preparations were
    making at the opera-house to give the 'Devin du Village'. Enraged at
    seeing these people arrogantly dispose of my property, I again took up
    the memoir I had sent to M. D'Argenson, to which no answer had been
    returned, and having made some trifling alterations in it, I sent the
    manuscript by M. Sellon, resident from Geneva, and a letter with which he
    was pleased to charge himself, to the Comte de St. Florentin, who had
    succeeded M. D'Argenson in the opera department. Duclos, to whom I
    communicated what I had done, mentioned it to the 'petits violons', who
    offered to restore me, not my opera, but my freedom of the theatre, which
    I was no longer in a situation to enjoy. Perceiving I had not from any
    quarter the least justice to expect, I gave up the affair; and the
    directors of the opera, without either answering or listening to my
    reasons, have continued to dispose as of their own property, and to turn
    to their profit, the Devin du Village, which incontestably belong to
    nobody but myself.

    Since I had shaken off the yoke of my tyrants, I led a life sufficiently
    agreeable and peaceful; deprived of the charm of too strong attachments
    I was delivered from the weight of their chains. Disgusted with the
    friends who pretended to be my protectors, and wished absolutely to
    dispose of me at will, and in spite of myself, to subject me to their
    pretended good services, I resolved in future to have no other
    connections than those of simple benevolence. These, without the least
    constraint upon liberty, constitute the pleasure of society, of which
    equality is the basis. I had of them as many as were necessary to enable
    me to taste of the charm of liberty without being subject to the
    dependence of it; and as soon as I had made an experiment of this manner
    of life, I felt it was the most proper to my age, to end my days in
    peace, far removed from the agitations, quarrels and cavillings in which
    I had just been half submerged.

    During my residence at the Hermitage, and after my settlement at
    Montmorency, I had made in the neighborhood some agreeable acquaintance,
    and which did not subject me to any inconvenience. The principal of
    these was young Loiseau de Mauleon, who, then beginning to plead at the
    bar, did not yet know what rank he would one day hold there. I for my
    part was not in the least doubt about the matter. I soon pointed out to
    him the illustrious career in the midst of which he is now seen, and
    predicted that, if he laid down to himself rigid rules for the choice of
    causes, and never became the defender of anything but virtue and justice,
    his genius, elevated by this sublime sentiment, would be equal to that of
    the greatest orators. He followed my advice, and now feels the good
    effects of it. His defence of M. de Portes is worthy of Demosthenes. He
    came every year within a quarter of a league of the Hermitage to pass the
    vacation at St. Brice, in the fife of Mauleon, belonging to his mother,
    and where the great Bossuet had formerly lodged. This is a fief, of
    which a like succession of proprietors would render nobility difficult to

    I had also for a neighbor in the same village of St. Brice, the
    bookseller Guerin, a man of wit, learning, of an amiable disposition, and
    one of the first in his profession. He brought me acquainted with Jean
    Neaulme, bookseller of Amsterdam, his friend and correspondent, who
    afterwards printed Emilius.

    I had another acquaintance still nearer than St. Brice, this was M.
    Maltor, vicar of Groslay, a man better adapted for the functions of a
    statesman and a minister, than for those of the vicar of a village, and
    to whom a diocese at least would have been given to govern if talents
    decided the disposal of places. He had been secretary to the Comte de
    Luc, and was formerly intimately acquainted with Jean Bapiste Rousseau.
    Holding in as much esteem the memory of that illustrious exile, as he
    held the villain who ruined him in horror; he possessed curious anecdotes
    of both, which Segur had not inserted in the life, still in manuscript,
    of the former, and he assured me that the Comte de Luc, far from ever
    having had reason to complain of his conduct, had until his last moment
    preserved for him the warmest friendship. M. Maltor, to whom M. de
    Vintimille gave this retreat after the death of his patron, had formerly
    been employed in many affairs of which, although far advanced in years,
    he still preserved a distinct remembrance, and reasoned upon them
    tolerably well. His conversation, equally amusing and instructive, had
    nothing in it resembling that of a village pastor: he joined the manners
    of a man of the world to the knowledge of one who passes his life in
    study. He, of all my permanent neighbors, was the person whose society
    was the most agreeable to me.

    I was also acquainted at Montmorency with several fathers of the oratory,
    and amongst others Father Berthier, professor of natural philosophy; to
    whom, notwithstanding some little tincture of pedantry, I become attached
    on account of a certain air of cordial good nature which I observed in
    him. I had, however, some difficulty to reconcile this great simplicity
    with the desire and the art he had of everywhere thrusting himself into
    the company of the great, as well as that of the women, devotees, and
    philosophers. He knew how to accommodate himself to every one. I was
    greatly pleased with the man, and spoke of my satisfaction to all my
    other acquaintances. Apparently what I said of him came to his ear. He
    one day thanked me for having thought him a good-natured man. I observed
    something in his forced smile which, in my eyes, totally changed his
    physiognomy, and which has since frequently occurred to my mind. I
    cannot better compare this smile than to that of Panurge purchasing the
    Sheep of Dindenaut. Our acquaintance had begun a little time after my
    arrival at the Hermitage, to which place he frequently came to see me. I
    was already settled at Montmorency when he left it to go and reside at
    Paris. He often saw Madam le Vasseur there. One day, when I least
    expected anything of the kind, he wrote to me in behalf of that woman,
    informing me that Grimm offered to maintain her, and to ask my permission
    to accept the offer. This I understood consisted in a pension of three
    hundred livres, and that Madam le Vasseur was to come and live at Deuil,
    between the Chevrette and Montmorency. I will not say what impression
    the application made on me. It would have been less surprising had Grimm
    had ten thousand livres a year, or any relation more easy to comprehend
    with that woman, and had not such a crime been made of my taking her to
    the country, where, as if she had become younger, he was now pleased to
    think of placing her. I perceived the good old lady had no other reason
    for asking my permission, which she might easily have done without, but
    the fear of losing what I already gave her, should I think ill of the
    step she took. Although this charity appeared to be very extraordinary,
    it did not strike me so much then as afterwards. But had I known even
    everything I have since discovered, I should still as readily have given
    my consent as I did and was obliged to do, unless I had exceeded the
    offer of M. Grimm. Father Berthier afterwards cured me a little of my
    opinion of his good nature and cordiality, with which I had so
    unthinkingly charged him.

    This same Father Berthier was acquainted with two men, who, for what
    reason I know not, were to become so with me; there was but little
    similarity between their taste and mine. They were the children of
    Melchisedec, of whom neither the country nor the family was known, no
    more than, in all probability, the real name. They were Jansenists, and
    passed for priests in disguise, perhaps on account of their ridiculous
    manner of wearing long swords, to which they appeared to have been
    fastened. The prodigious mystery in all their proceedings gave them the
    appearance of the heads of a party, and I never had the least doubt of
    their being the authors of the 'Gazette Ecclesiastique'. The one, tall,
    smooth-tongued, and sharping, was named Ferrand; the other, short, squat,
    a sneerer, and punctilious, was a M. Minard. They called each other
    cousin. They lodged at Paris with D'Alembert, in the house of his nurse
    named Madam Rousseau, and had taken at Montmorency a little apartment to
    pass the summers there. They did everything for themselves, and had
    neither a servant nor runner; each had his turn weekly to purchase
    provisions, do the business of the kitchen, and sweep the house. They
    managed tolerably well, and we sometimes ate with each other. I know not
    for what reason they gave themselves any concern about me: for my part,
    my only motive for beginning an acquaintance with them was their playing
    at chess, and to make a poor little party I suffered four hours' fatigue.
    As they thrust themselves into all companies, and wished to intermeddle
    in everything, Theresa called them the gossips, and by this name they
    were long known at Montmorency.

    Such, with my host M. Mathas, who was a good man, were my principal
    country acquaintance. I still had a sufficient number at Paris to live
    there agreeably whenever I chose it, out of the sphere of men of letters,
    amongst whom Duclos, was the only friend I reckoned: for De Levre was
    still too young, and although, after having been a witness to the
    manoeuvres of the philosophical tribe against me, he had withdrawn from
    it, at least I thought so, I could not yet forget the facility with which
    he made himself the mouthpiece of all the people of that description.

    In the first place I had my old and respectable friend Roguin. This was
    a good old-fashioned friend for whom I was not indebted to my writings
    but to myself, and whom for that reason I have always preserved. I had
    the good Lenieps, my countryman, and his daughter, then alive, Madam
    Lambert. I had a young Genevese, named Coindet, a good creature,
    careful, officious, zealous, who came to see me soon after I had gone to
    reside at the Hermitage, and, without any other introducer than himself,
    had made his way into my good graces. He had a taste for drawing, and
    was acquainted with artists. He was of service to me relative to the
    engravings of the New Eloisa; he undertook the direction of the drawings
    and the plates, and acquitted himself well of the commission.

    I had free access to the house of M. Dupin, which, less brilliant than in
    the young days of Madam Dupin, was still, by the merit of the heads of
    the family, and the choice of company which assembled there, one of the
    best houses in Paris. As I had not preferred anybody to them, and had
    separated myself from their society to live free and independent, they
    had always received me in a friendly manner, and I was always certain of
    being well received by Madam Dupin. I might even have counted her
    amongst my country neighbors after her establishment at Clichy, to which
    place I sometimes went to pass a day or two, and where I should have been
    more frequently had Madam Dupin and Madam de Chenonceaux been upon better
    terms. But the difficulty of dividing my time in the same house between
    two women whose manner of thinking was unfavorable to each other, made
    this disagreeable: however I had the pleasure of seeing her more at my
    ease at Deuil, where, at a trifling distance from me, she had taken a
    small house, and even at my own habitation, where she often came to see

    I had likewise for a friend Madam de Crequi, who, having become devout,
    no longer received D'Alembert, Marmontel, nor a single man of letters,
    except, I believe the Abbe Trublet, half a hypocrite, of whom she was
    weary. I, whose acquaintance she had sought lost neither her good wishes
    nor intercourse. She sent me young fat pullets from Mons, and her
    intention was to come and see me the year following had not a journey,
    upon which Madam de Luxembourg determined, prevented her. I here owe her
    a place apart; she will always hold a distinguished one in my

    In this list I should also place a man whom, except Roguin, I ought to
    have mentioned as the first upon it; my old friend and brother
    politician, De Carrio, formerly titulary secretary to the embassy from
    Spain to Venice, afterwards in Sweden, where he was charge des affaires,
    and at length really secretary to the embassy from Spain at Paris. He
    came and surprised me at Montmorency when I least expected him. He was
    decorated with the insignia of a Spanish order, the name of which I have
    forgotten, with a fine cross in jewelry. He had been obliged, in his
    proofs of nobility, to add a letter to his name, and to bear that of the
    Chevalier de Carrion. I found him still the same man, possessing the
    same excellent heart, and his mind daily improving, and becoming more and
    more amiable. We would have renewed our former intimacy had not Coindet
    interposed according to custom, taken advantage of the distance I was at
    from town to insinuate himself into my place, and, in my name, into his
    confidence, and supplant me by the excess of his zeal to render me

    The remembrance of Carrion makes me recollect one of my country
    neighbors, of whom I should be inexcusable not to speak, as I have to
    make confession of an unpardonable neglect of which I was guilty towards
    him: this was the honest M. le Blond, who had done me a service at
    Venice, and, having made an excursion to France with his family, had
    taken a house in the country, at Birche, not far from Montmorency.

    [When I wrote this, full of my blind confidence, I was far from
    suspecting the real motive and the effect of his journey to Paris.]

    As soon as I heard he was my neighbor, I, in the joy of my heart, and
    making it more a pleasure than a duty, went to pay him a visit. I set
    off upon this errand the next day. I was met by people who were coming
    to see me, and with whom I was obliged to return. Two days afterwards I
    set off again for the same purpose: he had dined at Paris with all his
    family. A third time he was at home: I heard the voice of women, and
    saw, at the door, a coach which alarmed me. I wished to see him, at
    least for the first time, quite at my ease, that we might talk over what
    had passed during our former connection.

    In fine, I so often postponed my visit from day to day, that the shame of
    discharging a like duty so late prevented me from doing it at all; after
    having dared to wait so long, I no longer dared to present myself. This
    negligence, at which M. le Blond could not but be justly offended, gave,
    relative to him, the appearance of ingratitude to my indolence, and yet I
    felt my heart so little culpable that, had it been in my power to do M.
    le Blond the least service, even unknown to himself, I am certain he
    would not have found me idle. But indolence, negligence and delay in
    little duties to be fulfilled have been more prejudicial to me than great
    vices. My greatest faults have been omissions: I have seldom done what I
    ought not to have done, and unfortunately it has still more rarely
    happened that I have done what I ought.

    Since I am now upon the subject of my Venetian acquaintance, I must not
    forget one which I still preserved for a considerable time after my
    intercourse with the rest had ceased. This was M. de Joinville, who
    continued after his return from Genoa to show me much friendship. He was
    fond of seeing me and of conversing with me upon the affairs of Italy,
    and the follies of M. de Montaigu, of whom he of himself knew many
    anecdotes, by means of his acquaintance in the office for foreign affairs
    in which he was much connected. I had also the pleasure of seeing at my
    house my old comrade Dupont who had purchased a place in the province of
    which he was, and whose affairs had brought him to Paris. M. de
    Joinville became by degrees so desirous of seeing me, that he in some
    measure laid me under constraint; and, although our places of residence
    were at a great distance from each other, we had a friendly quarrel when
    I let a week pass without going to dine with him. When he went to
    Joinville he was always desirous of my accompanying him; but having once
    been there to pass a week I had not the least desire to return. M. de
    Joinville was certainly an honest man, and even amiable in certain
    respects but his understanding was beneath mediocrity; he was handsome,
    rather fond of his person and tolerably fatiguing. He had one of the
    most singular collections perhaps in the world, to which he gave much of
    his attention and endeavored to acquire it that of his friends, to whom
    it sometimes afforded less amusement than it did to himself. This was a
    complete collection of songs of the court and Paris for upwards of fifty
    years past, in which many anecdotes were to be found that would have been
    sought for in vain elsewhere. These are memoirs for the history of
    France, which would scarcely be thought of in any other country.

    One day, whilst we were still upon the very best terms, he received me so
    coldly and in a manner so different from that which was customary to him,
    that after having given him an opportunity to explain, and even having
    begged him to do it, I left his house with a resolution, in which I have
    persevered, never to return to it again; for I am seldom seen where I
    have been once ill received, and in this case there was no Diderot who
    pleaded for M. de Joinville. I vainly endeavored to discover what I had
    done to offend him; I could not recollect a circumstance at which he
    could possibly have taken offence. I was certain of never having spoken
    of him or his in any other than in the most honorable manner; for he had
    acquired my friendship, and besides my having nothing but favorable
    things to say of him, my most inviolable maxim has been that of never
    speaking but in an honorable manner of the houses I frequented.

    At length, by continually ruminating. I formed the following conjecture:
    the last time we had seen each other, I had supped with him at the
    apartment of some girls of his acquaintance, in company with two or three
    clerks in the office of foreign affairs, very amiable men, and who had
    neither the manner nor appearance of libertines; and on my part, I can
    assert that the whole evening passed in making melancholy reflections on
    the wretched fate of the creatures with whom we were. I did not pay
    anything, as M. de Joinville gave the supper, nor did I make the girls
    the least present, because I gave them not the opportunity I had done to
    the padoana of establishing a claim to the trifle I might have offered,
    We all came away together, cheerfully and upon very good terms. Without
    having made a second visit to the girls, I went three or four days
    afterwards to dine with M. de Joinville, whom I had not seen during that
    interval, and who gave me the reception of which I have spoken. Unable
    to suppose any other cause for it than some misunderstanding relative to
    the supper, and perceiving he had no inclination to explain, I resolved
    to visit him no longer, but I still continued to send him my works: he
    frequently sent me his compliments, and one evening, meeting him in the
    green-room of the French theatre, he obligingly reproached me with not
    having called to see him, which, however, did not induce me to depart
    from my resolution. Therefore this affair had rather the appearance of a
    coolness than a rupture. However, not having heard of nor seen him since
    that time, it would have been too late after an absence of several years,
    to renew my acquaintance with him. It is for this reason M. de Joinville
    is not named in my list, although I had for a considerable time
    frequented his house.

    I will not swell my catalogue with the names of many other persons with
    whom I was or had become less intimate, although I sometimes saw them in
    the country, either at my own house or that of some neighbor, such for
    instance as the Abbes de Condillac and De Malby, M. de Mairan, De la
    Lalive, De Boisgelou, Vatelet, Ancelet, and others. I will also pass
    lightly over that of M. de Margency, gentleman in ordinary of the king,
    an ancient member of the 'Coterie Holbachique', which he had quitted as
    well as myself, and the old friend of Madam d'Epinay from whom he had
    separated as I had done; I likewise consider that of M. Desmahis, his
    friend, the celebrated but short-lived author of the comedy of the
    Impertinent, of much the same importance. The first was my neighbor in
    the country, his estate at Margency being near to Montmorency. We were
    old acquaintances, but the neighborhood and a certain conformity of
    experience connected us still more. The last died soon afterwards. He
    had merit and even wit, but he was in some degree the original of his
    comedy, and a little of a coxcomb with women, by whom he was not much

    I cannot, however, omit taking notice of a new correspondence I entered
    into at this period, which has had too much influence over the rest of my
    life not to make it necessary for me to mark its origin. The person in
    question is De Lamoignon de Malesherbes of the 'Cour des aides', then
    censor of books, which office he exercised with equal intelligence and
    mildness, to the great satisfaction of men of letters. I had not once
    been to see him at Paris; yet I had never received from him any other
    than the most obliging condescensions relative to the censorship, and I
    knew that he had more than once very severely reprimanded persons who had
    written against me. I had new proofs of his goodness upon the subject of
    the edition of Eloisa. The proofs of so great a work being very
    expensive from Amsterdam by post, he, to whom all letters were free,
    permitted these to be addressed to him, and sent them to me under the
    countersign of the chancellor his father. When the work was printed he
    did not permit the sale of it in the kingdom until, contrary to my wishes
    an edition had been sold for my benefit. As the profit of this would on
    my part have been a theft committed upon Rey, to whom I had sold the
    manuscript, I not only refused to accept the present intended me, without
    his consent, which he very generously gave, but persisted upon dividing
    with him the hundred pistoles (a thousand livres--forty pounds), the
    amount of it but of which he would not receive anything. For these
    hundred pistoles I had the mortification, against which M. de Malesherbes
    had not guarded me, of seeing my work horribly mutilated, and the sale of
    the good edition stopped until the bad one was entirely disposed of.

    I have always considered M. de Malesherbes as a man whose uprightness was
    proof against every temptation. Nothing that has happened has even made
    me doubt for a moment of his probity; but, as weak as he is polite, he
    sometimes injures those he wishes to serve by the excess of his zeal to
    preserve them from evil. He not only retrenched a hundred pages in the
    edition of Paris, but he made another retrenchment, which no person but
    the author could permit himself to do, in the copy of the good edition he
    sent to Madam de Pompadour. It is somewhere said in that work that the
    wife of a coal-heaver is more respectable than the mistress of a prince.
    This phrase had occurred to me in the warmth of composition without any
    application. In reading over the work I perceived it would be applied,
    yet in consequence of the very imprudent maxim I had adopted of not
    suppressing anything, on account of the application which might be made,
    when my conscience bore witness to me that I had not made them at the
    time I wrote, I determined not to expunge the phrase, and contented
    myself with substituting the word Prince to King, which I had first
    written. This softening did not seem sufficient to M. de Malesherbes: he
    retrenched the whole expression in a new sheet which he had printed on
    purpose and stuck in between the other with as much exactness as possible
    in the copy of Madam de Pompadour. She was not ignorant of this
    manoeuvre. Some good-natured people took the trouble to inform her of
    it. For my part, it was not until a long time afterwards, and when I
    began to feel the consequences of it, that the matter came to my

    Is not this the origin of the concealed but implacable hatred of another
    lady who was in a like situation, without my knowing it, or even being
    acquainted with her person when I wrote the passage? When the book was
    published the acquaintance was made, and I was very uneasy. I mentioned
    this to the Chevalier de Lorenzy, who laughed at me, and said the lady
    was so little offended that she had not even taken notice of the matter.
    I believed him, perhaps rather too lightly, and made myself easy when
    there was much reason for my being otherwise.

    At the beginning of the winter I received an additional mark of the
    goodness of M. de Malesherbes of which I was very sensible, although I
    did not think proper to take advantage of it. A place was vacant in the
    'Journal des Savans'. Margency wrote to me, proposing to me the place,
    as from himself. But I easily perceived from the manner of the letter
    that he was dictated to and authorized; he afterwards told me he had been
    desired to make me the offer. The occupations of this place were but
    trifling. All I should have had to do would have been to make two
    abstracts a month, from the books brought to me for that purpose, without
    being under the necessity of going once to Paris, not even to pay the
    magistrate a visit of thanks. By this employment I should have entered a
    society of men of letters of the first merit; M. de Mairan, Clairaut, De
    Guignes and the Abbe Barthelemi, with the first two of whom I had already
    made an acquaintance, and that of the two others was very desirable. In
    fine, for this trifling employment, the duties of which I might so
    commodiously have discharged, there was a salary of eight hundred livres
    (thirty-three pounds); I was for a few hours undecided, and this from a
    fear of making Margency angry and displeasing M. de Malesherbes. But at
    length the insupportable constraint of not having it in my power to work
    when I thought proper, and to be commanded by time; and moreover the
    certainty of badly performing the functions with which I was to charge
    myself, prevailed over everything, and determined me to refuse a place
    for which I was unfit. I knew that my whole talent consisted in a
    certain warmth of mind with respect to the subjects of what I had to
    treat, and that nothing but the love of that which was great, beautiful
    and sublime, could animate my genius. What would the subjects of the
    extracts I should have had to make from books, or even the books
    themselves, have signified to me? My indifference about them would have
    frozen my pen, and stupefied my mind. People thought I could make a
    trade of writing, as most of the other men of letters did, instead of
    which I never could write but from the warmth of imagination. This
    certainly was not necessary for the 'Journal des Savans'. I therefore
    wrote to Margency a letter of thanks, in the politest terms possible, and
    so well explained to him my reasons, that it was not possible that either
    he or M. de Malesherbes could imagine there was pride or ill-humor in my
    refusal. They both approved of it without receiving me less politely,
    and the secret was so well kept that it was never known to the public.

    The proposition did not come in a favorable moment. I had some time
    before this formed the project of quitting literature, and especially the
    trade of an author. I had been disgusted with men of letters by
    everything that had lately befallen me, and had learned from experience
    that it was impossible to proceed in the same track without having some
    connections with them. I was not much less dissatisfied with men of the
    world, and in general with the mixed life I had lately led, half to
    myself and half devoted to societies for which I was unfit. I felt more
    than ever, and by constant experience, that every unequal association is
    disadvantageous to the weaker person. Living with opulent people, and in
    a situation different from that I had chosen, without keeping a house as
    they did, I was obliged to imitate them in many things; and little
    expenses, which were nothing to their fortunes, were for me not less
    ruinous than indispensable. Another man in the country-house of a
    friend, is served by his own servant, as well at table as in his chamber;
    he sends him to seek for everything he wants; having nothing directly to
    do with the servants of the house, not even seeing them, he gives them
    what he pleases, and when he thinks proper; but I, alone, and without a
    servant, was at the mercy of the servants of the house, of whom it was
    necessary to gain the good graces, that I might not have much to suffer;
    and being treated as the equal of their master, I was obliged to treat
    them accordingly, and better than another would have done, because, in
    fact, I stood in greater need of their services. This, where there are
    but few domestics, may be complied with; but in the houses I frequented
    there were a great number, and the knaves so well understood their
    interests that they knew how to make me want the services of them all
    successively. The women of Paris, who have so much wit, have no just
    idea of this inconvenience, and in their zeal to economize my purse they
    ruined me. If I supped in town, at any considerable distance from my
    lodgings, instead of permitting me to send for a hackney coach, the
    mistress of the house ordered her horses to be put to and sent me home in
    her carriage. She was very glad to save me the twenty-four sous
    (shilling) for the fiacre, but never thought of the half-crown I gave to
    her coachman and footman. If a lady wrote to me from Paris to the Hermit
    age or to Montmorency, she regretted the four sous (two pence) the
    postage of the letter would have cost me, and sent it by one of her
    servants, who came sweating on foot, and to whom I gave a dinner and half
    a crown, which he certainly had well earned. If she proposed to me to
    pass with her a week or a fortnight at her country-house, she still said
    to herself, "It will be a saving to the poor man; during that time his
    eating will cost him nothing." She never recollected that I was the
    whole time idle, that the expenses of my family, my rent, linen and
    clothes were still going on, that I paid my barber double that it cost me
    more being in her house than in my own, and although I confined my
    little largesses to the house in which I customarily lived, that these
    were still ruinous to me. I am certain I have paid upwards of
    twenty-five crowns in the house of Madam d'Houdetot, at Raubonne, where
    I never slept more than four or five times, and upwards of a thousand
    livres (forty pounds) as well at Epinay as at the Chevrette, during the
    five or six years I was most assiduous there. These expenses are
    inevitable to a man like me, who knows not how to provide anything for
    himself, and cannot support the sight of a lackey who grumbles and
    serves him with a sour look. With Madam Dupin, even where I was one of
    the family, and in whose house I rendered many services to the servants,
    I never received theirs but for my money. In course of time it was
    necessary to renounce these little liberalities, which my situation no
    longer permitted me to bestow, and I felt still more severely the
    inconvenience of associating with people in a situation different from
    my own.

    Had this manner of life been to my taste, I should have been consoled for
    a heavy expense, which I dedicated to my pleasures; but to ruin myself at
    the same time that I fatigued my mind, was insupportable, and I had so
    felt the weight of this, that, profiting by the interval of liberty I
    then had, I was determined to perpetuate it, and entirely to renounce
    great companies, the composition of books, and all literary concerns, and
    for the remainder of my days to confine myself to the narrow and peaceful
    sphere in which I felt I was born to move.

    The produce of this letter to D'Alembert, and of the New Elosia, had a
    little improved the state of my finances, which had been considerably
    exhausted at the Hermitage. Emilius, to which, after I had finished
    Eloisa, I had given great application, was in forwardness, and the
    produce of this could not be less than the sum of which I was already in
    possession. I intended to place this money in such a manner as to
    produce me a little annual income, which, with my copying, might be
    sufficient to my wants without writing any more. I had two other works
    upon the stocks. The first of these was my 'Institutions Politiques'.
    I examined the state of this work, and found it required several years'
    labor. I had not courage enough to continue it, and to wait until it was
    finished before I carried my intentions into execution. Therefore,
    laying the book aside, I determined to take from it all I could, and to
    burn the rest; and continuing this with zeal without interrupting
    Emilius, I finished the 'Contrat Social'.

    The dictionary of music now remained. This was mechanical, and might be
    taken up at any time; the object of it was entirely pecuniary. I
    reserved to myself the liberty of laying it aside, or of finishing it at
    my ease, according as my other resources collected should render this
    necessary or superfluous. With respect to the 'Morale Sensitive',
    of which I had made nothing more than a sketch, I entirely gave it up.

    As my last project, if I found I could not entirely do without copying,
    was that of removing from Paris, where the affluence of my visitors
    rendered my housekeeping expensive, and deprived me of the time I should
    have turned to advantage to provide for it; to prevent in my retirement
    the state of lassitude into which an author is said to fall when he has
    laid down his pen, I reserved to myself an occupation which might fill up
    the void in my solitude without tempting me to print anything more.
    I know not for what reason they had long tormented me to write the
    memoirs of my life. Although these were not until that time interesting
    as to the facts, I felt they might become so by the candor with which I
    was capable of giving them, and I determined to make of these the only
    work of the kind, by an unexampled veracity, that, for once at least, the
    world might see a man such as he internally was. I had always laughed at
    the false ingenuousness of Montaigne, who, feigning to confess his
    faults, takes great care not to give himself any, except such as are
    amiable; whilst I, who have ever thought, and still think myself,
    considering everything, the best of men, felt there is no human being,
    however pure he maybe, who does not internally conceal some odious vice.
    I knew I was described to the public very different from what I really
    was, and so opposite, that notwithstanding my faults, all of which I was
    determined to relate, I could not but be a gainer by showing myself in my
    proper colors. This, besides, not being to be done without setting forth
    others also in theirs and the work for the same reason not being of a
    nature to appear during my lifetime, and that of several other persons,
    I was the more encouraged to make my confession, at which I should never
    have to blush before any person. I therefore resolved to dedicate my
    leisure to the execution of this undertaking, and immediately began to
    collect such letters and papers as might guide or assist my memory,
    greatly regretting the loss of all I had burned, mislaid and destroyed.

    The project of absolute retirement, one of the most reasonable I had ever
    formed, was strongly impressed upon my mind, and for the execution of it
    I was already taking measures, when Heaven, which prepared me a different
    destiny, plunged me into a another vortex.

    Montmorency, the ancient and fine patrimony of the illustrious family of
    that name, was taken from it by confiscation. It passed by the sister of
    Duke Henry, to the house of Conde, which has changed the name of
    Montmorency to that of Enguien, and the duchy has no other castle than an
    old tower, where the archives are kept, and to which the vassals come to
    do homage. But at Montmorency, or Enguien, there is a private house,
    built by Crosat, called 'le pauvre', which having the magnificence of the
    most superb chateaux, deserves and bears the name of a castle. The
    majestic appearance of this noble edifice, the view from it, not equalled
    perhaps in any country; the spacious saloon, painted by the hand of a
    master; the garden, planted by the celebrated Le Notre; all combined to
    form a whole strikingly majestic, in which there is still a simplicity
    that enforces admiration. The Marechal Duke de Luxembourg who then
    inhabited this house, came every year into the neighborhood where
    formerly his ancestors were the masters, to pass, at least, five or six
    weeks as a private inhabitant, but with a splendor which did not
    degenerate from the ancient lustre of his family. On the first journey
    he made to it after my residing at Montmorency, he and his lady sent to
    me a valet de chambre, with their compliments, inviting me to sup with
    them as often as it should be agreeable to me; and at each time of their
    coming they never failed to reiterate the same compliments and
    invitation. This called to my recollection Madam Beuzenval sending me to
    dine in the servants' hall. Times were changed; but I was still the same
    man. I did not choose to be sent to dine in the servants' hall, and was
    but little desirous of appearing at the table of the great I should have
    been much better pleased had they left me as I was, without caressing me
    and rendering me ridiculous. I answered politely and respectfully to
    Monsieur and Madam de Luxembourg, but I did not accept their offers, and
    my indisposition and timidity, with my embarrassment in speaking; making
    me tremble at the idea alone of appearing in an assembly of people of the
    court. I did not even go to the castle to pay a visit of thanks,
    although I sufficiently comprehended this was all they desired, and that
    their eager politeness was rather a matter of curiosity than benevolence.

    However, advances still were made, and even became more pressing.
    The Countess de Boufflers, who was very intimate with the lady of the
    marechal, sent to inquire after my health, and to beg I would go and see
    her. I returned her a proper answer, but did not stir from my house.
    At the journey of Easter, the year following, 1759, the Chevalier de
    Lorenzy, who belonged to the court of the Prince of Conti, and was
    intimate with Madam de Luxembourg, came several times to see me, and we
    became acquainted; he pressed me to go to the castle, but I refused to
    comply. At length, one afternoon, when I least expected anything of the
    kind, I saw coming up to the house the Marechal de Luxembourg, followed
    by five or six persons. There was now no longer any means of defence;
    and I could not, without being arrogant and unmannerly, do otherwise than
    return this visit, and make my court to Madam la Marechale, from whom the
    marechal had been the bearer of the most obliging compliments to me.
    Thus, under unfortunate auspices, began the connections from which I
    could no longer preserve myself, although a too well-founded foresight
    made me afraid of them until they were made.

    I was excessively afraid of Madam de Luxembourg. I knew, she was amiable
    as to manner. I had seen her several times at the theatre, and with the
    Duchess of Boufflers, and in the bloom of her beauty; but she was said to
    be malignant; and this in a woman of her rank made me tremble. I had
    scarcely seen her before I was subjugated. I thought her charming, with
    that charm proof against time and which had the most powerful action upon
    my heart. I expected to find her conversation satirical and full of
    pleasantries and points. It was not so; it was much better. The
    conversation of Madam de Luxembourg is not remarkably full of wit; it has
    no sallies, nor even finesse; it is exquisitely delicate, never striking,
    but always pleasing. Her flattery is the more intoxicating as it is
    natural; it seems to escape her involuntarily, and her heart to overflow
    because it is too full. I thought I perceived, on my first visit, that
    notwithstanding my awkward manner and embarrassed expression, I was not
    displeasing to her. All the women of the court know how to persuade us
    of this when they please, whether it be true or not, but they do not all,
    like Madam de Luxembourg, possess the art of rendering that persuasion so
    agreeable that we are no longer disposed ever to have a doubt remaining.
    From the first day my confidence in her would have been as full as it
    soon afterwards became, had not the Duchess of Montmorency, her
    daughter-in-law, young, giddy, and malicious also, taken it into her
    head to attack me, and in the midst of the eulogiums of her mamma, and
    feigned allurements on her own account, made me suspect I was only
    considered by them as a subject of ridicule.

    It would perhaps have been difficult to relieve me from this fear with
    these two ladies had not the extreme goodness of the marechal confirmed
    me in the belief that theirs was not real. Nothing is more surprising,
    considering my timidity, than the promptitude with which I took him at
    his word on the footing of equality to which he would absolutely reduce
    himself with me, except it be that with which he took me at mine with
    respect to the absolute independence in which I was determined to live.
    Both persuaded I had reason to be content with my situation, and that I
    was unwilling to change it, neither he nor Madam de Luxembourg seemed to
    think a moment of my purse or fortune; although I can have no doubt of
    the tender concern they had for me, they never proposed to me a place nor
    offered me their interest, except it were once, when Madam de Luxembourg
    seemed to wish me to become a member of the French Academy. I alleged my
    religion; this she told me was no obstacle, or if it was one she engaged
    to remove it. I answered, that however great the honor of becoming a
    member of so illustrious a body might be, having refused M. de Tressan,
    and, in some measure, the King of Poland, to become a member of the
    Academy at Nancy, I could not with propriety enter into any other. Madam
    de Luxembourg did not insist, and nothing more was said upon the subject.
    This simplicity of intercourse with persons of such rank, and who had the
    power of doing anything in my favor, M. de Luxembourg being, and highly
    deserving to be, the particular friend of the king, affords a singular
    contrast with the continual cares, equally importunate and officious, of
    the friends and protectors from whom I had just separated, and who
    endeavored less to serve me than to render me contemptible.

    When the marechal came to see me at Mont Louis, I was uneasy at receiving
    him and his retinue in my only chamber; not because I was obliged to make
    them all sit down in the midst of my dirty plates and broken pots, but on
    account of the state of the floor, which was rotten and falling to ruin,
    and I was afraid the weight of his attendants would entirely sink it.
    Less concerned on account of my own danger than for that to which the
    affability of the marechal exposed him, I hastened to remove him from it
    by conducting him, notwithstanding the coldness of the weather, to my
    alcove, which was quite open to the air, and had no chimney. When he was
    there I told him my reason for having brought him to it; he told it to
    his lady, and they both pressed me to accept, until the floor was
    repaired, a lodging of the castle; or, if I preferred it, in a separate
    edifice called the Little Castle which was in the middle of the park.
    This delightful abode deserves to be spoken of.

    The park or garden of Montmorency is not a plain, like that of the
    Chevrette. It is uneven, mountainous, raised by little hills and
    valleys, of which the able artist has taken advantage; and thereby varied
    his groves, ornaments, waters, and points of view, and, if I may so
    speak, multiplied by art and genius a space in itself rather narrow.
    This park is terminated at the top by a terrace and the castle; at bottom
    it forms a narrow passage which opens and becomes wider towards the
    valley, the angle of which is filled up with a large piece of water.
    Between the orangery, which is in this widening, and the piece of water,
    the banks of which are agreeably decorated, stands the Little Castle of
    which I have spoken. This edifice, and the ground about it, formerly
    belonged to the celebrated Le Brun, who amused himself in building and
    decorating it in the exquisite taste of architectual ornaments which that
    great painter had formed to himself. The castle has since been rebuilt,
    but still, according to the plan and design of its first master. It is
    little and simple, but elegant. As it stands in a hollow between the
    orangery and the large piece of water, and consequently is liable to be
    damp, it is open in the middle by a peristyle between two rows of
    columns, by which means the air circulating throughout the whole edifice
    keeps it dry, notwithstanding its unfavorable situation. When the
    building is seen from the opposite elevation, which is a point of view,
    it appears absolutely surrounded with water, and we imagine we have
    before our eyes an enchanted island, or the most beautiful of the three
    Boromeans, called Isola Bella, in the greater lake.

    In this solitary edifice I was offered the choice of four complete
    apartments it contains, besides the ground floor, consisting of a dancing
    room, billiard room and a kitchen. I chose the smallest over the
    kitchen, which also I had with it. It was charmingly neat, with blue and
    white furniture. In this profound and delicious solitude, in the midst
    of the woods, the singing of birds of every kind, and the perfume of
    orange flowers, I composed, in a continual ecstasy, the fifth book of
    Emilius, the coloring of which I owe in a great measure to the lively
    impression I received from the place I inhabited.

    With what eagerness did I run every morning at sunrise to respire the
    perfumed air in the peristyle! What excellent coffee I took there
    tete-a-tete with my Theresa. My cat and dog were our company. This
    retinue alone would have been sufficient for me during my whole life,
    in which I should not have had one weary moment. I was there in a
    terrestrial paradise; I lived in innocence and tasted of happiness.

    At the journey of July, M. and Madam de Luxembourg showed me so much
    attention, and were so extremely kind, that, lodged in their house, and
    overwhelmed with their goodness, I could not do less than make them a
    proper return in assiduous respect near their persons; I scarcely quitted
    them; I went in the morning to pay my court to Madam la Marechale; after
    dinner I walked with the marechal; but did not sup at the castle on
    account of the numerous guests, and because they supped too late for me.
    Thus far everything was as it should be, and no harm would have been done
    could I have remained at this point. But I have never known how to
    preserve a medium in my attachments, and simply fulfil the duties of
    society. I have ever been everything or nothing. I was soon everything;
    and receiving the most polite attention from persons of the highest rank,
    I passed the proper bounds, and conceived for them a friendship not
    permitted except among equals. Of these I had all the familiarity in my
    manners, whilst they still preserved in theirs the same politeness to
    which they had accustomed me. Yet I was never quite at my ease with
    Madam de Luxembourg. Although I was not quite relieved from my fears
    relative to her character, I apprehended less danger from it than from
    her wit. It was by this especially that she impressed me with awe.
    I knew she was difficult as to conversation, and she had a right to be
    so. I knew women, especially those of her rank, would absolutely be
    amused, that it was better to offend than to weary them, and I judged by
    her commentaries upon what the people who went away had said what she
    must think of my blunders. I thought of an expedient to spare me with
    her the embarrassment of speaking; this was reading. She had heard of my
    Eloisa, and knew it was in the press; she expressed a desire to see the
    work; I offered to read it to her, and she accepted my offer. I went to
    her every morning at ten o'clock; M. de Luxembourg was present, and the
    door was shut. I read by the side of her bed, and so well proportioned
    my readings that there would have been sufficient for the whole time she
    had to stay, had they even not been interrupted.

    [The loss of a great battle, which much afflicted the King,
    obliged M. de Luxembourg precipitately to return to court.]

    The success of this expedient surpassed my expectation. Madam de
    Luxembourg took a great liking to Julia and the author; she spoke of
    nothing but me, thought of nothing else, said civil things to me from
    morning till night, and embraced me ten times a day. She insisted on me
    always having my place by her side at table, and when any great lords
    wished it she told them it was mine, and made them sit down somewhere
    else. The impression these charming manners made upon me, who was
    subjugated by the least mark of affection, may easily be judged of.
    I became really attached to her in proportion to the attachment she
    showed me. All my fear in perceiving this infatuation, and feeling the
    want of agreeableness in myself to support it, was that it would be
    changed into disgust; and unfortunately this fear was but too well

    There must have been a natural opposition between her turn of mind and
    mine, since, independently of the numerous stupid things which at every
    instant escaped me in conversation, and even in my letters, and when I
    was upon the best terms with her, there were certain other things with
    which she was displeased without my being able to imagine the reason.
    I will quote one instance from among twenty. She knew I was writing for
    Madam d'Houdetot a copy of the New Eloisa. She was desirous to have one
    on the same footing. This I promised her, and thereby making her one of
    my customers, I wrote her a polite letter upon the subject, at least such
    was my intention. Her answer, which was as follows, stupefied me with

    VERSAILLES, Tuesday.

    "I am ravished, I am satisfied: your letter has given me infinite
    pleasure, and I take the earliest moment to acquaint you with, and thank
    you for it.

    "These are the exact words of your letter: 'Although you are certainly a
    very good customer, I have some pain in receiving your money: according
    to regular order I ought to pay for the pleasure I should have in working
    for you.' I will say nothing more on the subject. I have to complain of
    your not speaking of your state of health: nothing interests me more.
    I love you with all my heart: and be assured that I write this to you in
    a very melancholy mood, for I should have much pleasure in telling it to
    you myself. M. de Luxembourg loves and embraces you with all his heart.

    "On receiving the letter I hastened to answer it, reserving to myself more
    fully to examine the matter, protesting against all disobliging
    interpretation, and after having given several days to this examination
    with an inquietude which may easily be conceived, and still without being
    able to discover in what I could have erred, what follows was my final
    answer on the subject.

    "MONTMORENCY, 8th December, 1759.

    "Since my last letter I have examined a hundred times the passage in
    question. I have considered it in its proper and natural meaning, as
    well as in every other which may be given to it, and I confess to you,
    madam, that I know not whether it be I who owe to you excuses, or you
    from whom they are due to me."

    It is now ten years since these letters were written. I have since that
    time frequently thought of the subject of them; and such is still my
    stupidity that I have hitherto been unable to discover what in the
    passages, quoted from my letter, she could find offensive, or even

    I must here mention, relative to the manuscript copy of Eloisa Madam de
    Luxembourg wished to have, in what manner I thought to give it some
    marked advantage which should distinguish it from all others. I had
    written separately the adventures of Lord Edward, and had long been
    undetermined whether I should insert them wholly, or in extracts, in the
    work in which they seemed to be wanting. I at length determined to
    retrench them entirely, because, not being in the manner of the rest,
    they would have spoiled the interesting simplicity, which was its
    principal merit. I had still a stronger reason when I came to know Madam
    de Luxembourg: There was in these adventures a Roman marchioness, of a
    bad character, some parts of which, without being applicable, might have
    been applied to her by those to whom she was not particularly known.
    I was therefore, highly pleased with the determination to which I had
    come, and resolved to abide by it. But in the ardent desire to enrich
    her copy with something which was not in the other, what should I fall
    upon but these unfortunate adventures, and I concluded on making an
    extract from them to add to the work; a project dictated by madness, of
    which the extravagance is inexplicable, except by the blind fatality
    which led me on to destruction.

    'Quos vult perdere Jupiter dementet.'

    I was stupid enough to make this extract with the greatest care and
    pains, and to send it her as the finest thing in the world; it is true,
    I at the same time informed her the original was burned, which was really
    the case, that the extract was for her alone, and would never be seen,
    except by herself, unless she chose to show it; which, far from proving,
    to her my prudence and discretion, as it was my intention to do, clearly
    intimated what I thought of the application by which she might be
    offended. My stupidity was such, that I had no doubt of her being
    delighted with what I had done. She did not make me the compliment upon
    it which I expected, and, to my great surprise, never once mentioned the
    paper I had sent her. I was so satisfied with myself, that it was not
    until a long time afterwards, I judged, from other indications, of the
    effect it had produced.

    I had still, in favor of her manuscript, another idea more reasonable,
    but which, by more distant effects, has not been much less prejudicial to
    me; so much does everything concur with the work of destiny, when that
    hurries on a man to misfortune. I thought of ornamenting the manuscript
    with the engravings of the New Eloisa, which were of the same size. I
    asked Coindet for these engravings, which belonged to me by every kind of
    title, and the more so as I had given him the produce of the plates,
    which had a considerable sale. Coindet is as cunning as I am the
    contrary. By frequently asking him for the engravings he came to the
    knowledge of the use I intended to make of them. He then, under pretence
    of adding some new ornament, still kept them from me; and at length
    presented them himself.

    'Ego versiculos feci, tulit alter honores.'

    This gave him an introduction upon a certain footing to the Hotel de
    Luxembourg. After my establishment at the little castle he came rather
    frequently to see me, and always in the morning, especially when M. and
    Madam de Luxembourg were at Montmorency. Therefore that I might pass the
    day with him, I did not go the castle. Reproaches were made me on
    account of my absence; I told the reason of them. I was desired to bring
    with me M. Coindet; I did so. This was, what he had sought after.
    Therefore, thanks to the excessive goodness M. and Madam de Luxembourg
    had for me, a clerk to M. Thelusson, who was sometimes pleased to give
    him his table when he had nobody else to dine with him, was suddenly
    placed at that of a marechal of France, with princes, duchesses, and
    persons of the highest rank at court. I shall never forget, that one day
    being obliged to return early to Paris, the marechal said, after dinner,
    to the company, "Let us take a walk upon the road to St. Denis, and we
    will accompany M. Coindet." This was too much for the poor man; his head
    was quite turned. For my part, my heart was so affected that I could not
    say a word. I followed the company, weeping like a child, and having the
    strongest desire to kiss the foot of the good marechal; but the
    continuation of the history of the manuscript has made me anticipate.
    I will go a little back, and, as far as my memory will permit, mark each
    event in its proper order.

    As soon as the little house of Mont Louis was ready, I had it neatly
    furnished and again established myself there. I could not break through
    the resolution I had made on quitting the Hermitage of always having my
    apartment to myself; but I found a difficulty in resolving to quit the
    little castle. I kept the key of it, and being delighted with the
    charming breakfasts of the peristyle, frequently went to the castle to
    sleep, and stayed three or four days as at a country-house. I was at
    that time perhaps better and more agreeably lodged than any private
    individual in Europe. My host, M. Mathas, one of the best men in the
    world, had left me the absolute direction of the repairs at Mont Louis,
    and insisted upon my disposing of his workmen without his interference.
    I therefore found the means of making of a single chamber upon the first
    story, a complete set of apartments consisting of a chamber, antechamber,
    and a water closet. Upon the ground-floor was the kitchen and the
    chamber of Theresa. The alcove served me for a closet by means of a
    glazed partition and a chimney I had made there. After my return to this
    habitation, I amused myself in decorating the terrace, which was already
    shaded by two rows of linden trees; I added two others to make a cabinet
    of verdure, and placed in it a table and stone benches: I surrounded it
    with lilies, syringa and woodbines, and had a beautiful border of flowers
    parallel with the two rows of trees. This terrace, more elevated than
    that of the castle, from which the view was at least as fine, and where I
    had tamed a great number of birds, was my drawing-room, in which I
    received M. and Madam de Luxembourg, the Duke of Villeroy, the Prince of
    Tingry, the Marquis of Armentieres, the Duchess of Montmorency, the
    Duchess of Bouffiers, the Countess of Valentinois, the Countess of
    Boufflers, and other persons of the first rank; who, from the castle
    disdained not to make, over a very fatiguing mountain, the pilgrimage of
    Mont Louis. I owed all these visits to the favor of M. and Madam de
    Luxembourg; this I felt, and my heart on that account did them all due
    homage. It was with the same sentiment that I once said to M. de
    Luxembourg, embracing him: "Ah! Monsieur le Marechal, I hated the great
    before I knew you, and I have hated them still more since you have shown
    me with what ease they might acquire universal respect." Further than
    this I defy any person with whom I was then acquainted, to say I was ever
    dazzled for an instant with splendor, or that the vapor of the incense I
    received ever affected my head; that I was less uniform in my manner,
    less plain in my dress, less easy of access to people of the lowest rank,
    less familiar with neighbors, or less ready to render service to every
    person when I had it in my power so to do, without ever once being
    discouraged by the numerous and frequently unreasonable importunities
    with which I was incessantly assailed.

    Although my heart led me to the castle of Montmorency, by my sincere
    attachment to those by whom it was inhabited, it by the same means drew
    me back to the neighborhood of it, there to taste the sweets of the equal
    and simple life, in which my only happiness consisted. Theresa had
    contracted a friendship with the daughter of one of my neighbors, a mason
    of the name of Pilleu; I did the same with the father, and after having
    dined at the castle, not without some constraint, to please Madam de
    Luxembourg, with what eagerness did I return in the evening to sup with
    the good man Pilleu and his family, sometimes at his own house and at
    others, at mine.

    Besides my two lodgings in the country, I soon had a third at the Hotel
    de Luxembourg, the proprietors of which pressed me so much to go and see
    them there, that I consented, notwithstanding my aversion to Paris,
    where, since my retiring to the Hermitage, I had been but twice, upon the
    two occasions of which I have spoken. I did not now go there except on
    the days agreed upon, solely to supper, and the next morning I returned
    to the country. I entered and came out by the garden which faces the
    boulevard, so that I could with the greatest truth, say I had not set my
    foot upon the stones of Paris.

    In the midst of this transient prosperity, a catastrophe, which was to be
    the conclusion of it, was preparing at a distance. A short time after my
    return to Mont Louis, I made there, and as it was customary, against my
    inclination, a new acquaintance, which makes another era in my private
    history. Whether this be favorable or unfavorable, the reader will
    hereafter be able to judge. The person with whom I became acquainted was
    the Marchioness of Verdelin, my neighbor, whose husband had just bought
    a country-house at Soisy, near Montmorency. Mademoiselle d'Ars, daughter
    to the Comte d'Ars, a man of fashion, but poor, had married M. de
    Verdelin, old, ugly, deaf, uncouth, brutal, jealous, with gashes in his
    face, and blind of one eye, but, upon the whole, a good man when properly
    managed, and in possession of a fortune of from fifteen to twenty
    thousand a year. This charming object, swearing, roaring, scolding,
    storming, and making his wife cry all day long, ended by doing whatever
    she thought proper, and this to set her in a rage, because she knew how
    to persuade him that it was he who would, and she would not have it so.
    M. de Margency, of whom I have spoken, was the friend of madam, and
    became that of monsieur. He had a few years before let them his castle
    of Margency, near Eaubonne and Andilly, and they resided there precisely
    at the time of my passion for Madam d'Houdetot. Madam d'Houdetot and
    Madam de Verdelin became acquainted with each other, by means of Madam
    d'Aubeterre their common friend; and as the garden of Margency was in the
    road by which Madam d'Houdetot went to Mont Olympe, her favorite walk,
    Madam de Verdelin gave her a key that she might pass through it. By
    means of this key I crossed it several times with her; but I did not like
    unexpected meetings, and when Madam de Verdelin was by chance upon our
    way I left them together without speaking to her, and went on before.
    This want of gallantry must have made on her an impression unfavorable to
    me. Yet when she was at Soisy she was anxious to have my company. She
    came several times to see me at Mont Louis, without finding me at home,
    and perceiving I did not return her visit, took it into her head, as a
    means of forcing me to do it, to send me pots of flowers for my terrace.
    I was under the necessity of going to thank her; this was all she wanted,
    and we thus became acquainted.

    This connection, like every other I formed; or was led into contrary to
    my inclination, began rather boisterously. There never reigned in it a
    real calm. The turn of mind of Madam de Verdelinwas too opposite to
    mine. Malignant expressions and pointed sarcasms came from her with so
    much simplicity, that a continual attention too fatiguing for me was
    necessary to perceive she was turning into ridicule the person to whom
    she spoke. One trivial circumstance which occurs to my recollection will
    be sufficient to give an idea of her manner. Her brother had just
    obtained the command of a frigate cruising against the English. I spoke
    of the manner of fitting out this frigate without diminishing its
    swiftness of sailing. "Yes," replied she, in the most natural tone of
    voice, "no more cannon are taken than are necessary for fighting."
    I seldom have heard her speak well of any of her absent friends without
    letting slip something to their prejudice. What she did not see with an
    evil eye she looked upon with one of ridicule, and her friend Margency
    was not excepted. What I found most insupportable in her was the
    perpetual constraint proceeding from her little messages, presents and
    billets, to which it was a labor for me to answer, and I had continual
    embarrassments either in thanking or refusing. However, by frequently
    seeing this lady I became attached to her. She had her troubles as well
    as I had mine. Reciprocal confidence rendered our conversations
    interesting. Nothing so cordially attaches two persons as the
    satisfaction of weeping together. We sought the company of each other
    for our reciprocal consolation, and the want of this has frequently made
    me pass over many things. I had been so severe in my frankness with her,
    that after having sometimes shown so little esteem for her character, a
    great deal was necessary to be able to believe she could sincerely
    forgive me.

    The following letter is a specimen of the epistles I sometimes wrote to
    her, and it is to be remarked that she never once in any of her answers
    to them seemed to be in the least degree piqued.

    MONTMORENCY, 5th November, 1760.

    "You tell me, madam, you have not well explained yourself, in order to
    make me understand I have explained myself ill. You speak of your
    pretended stupidity for the purpose of making me feel my own. You boast
    of being nothing more than a good kind of woman, as if you were afraid to
    being taken at your word, and you make me apologies to tell me I owe them
    to you. Yes, madam, I know it; it is I who am a fool, a good kind of
    man; and, if it be possible, worse than all this; it is I who make a bad
    choice of my expressions in the opinion of a fine French lady, who pays
    as much attention to words, and speak as well as you do. But consider
    that I take them in the common meaning of the language without knowing or
    troubling my head about the polite acceptations in which they are taken
    in the virtuous societies of Paris. If my expressions are sometimes
    equivocal, I endeavored by my conduct to determine their meaning," etc.
    The rest of the letter is much the same.

    Coindet, enterprising, bold, even to effrontery, and who was upon the
    watch after all my friends, soon introduced himself in my name to the
    house of Madam de Verdelin, and, unknown to me, shortly became there more
    familiar than myself. This Coindet was an extraordinary man. He
    presented himself in my name in the houses of all my acquaintance, gained
    a footing in them, and eat there without ceremony. Transported with zeal
    to do me service, he never mentioned my name without his eyes being
    suffused with tears; but, when he came to see me, he kept the most
    profound silence on the subject of all these connections, and especially
    on that in which he knew I must be interested. Instead of telling me
    what he had heard, said, or seen, relative to my affairs, he waited for
    my speaking to him, and even interrogated me. He never knew anything of
    what passed in Paris, except that which I told him: finally, although
    everybody spoke to me of him, he never once spoke to me of any person; he
    was secret and mysterious with his friend only; but I will for the
    present leave Coindet and Madam de Verdelin, and return to them at a
    proper time.

    Sometime after my return to Mont Louis, La Tour, the painter, came to see
    me, and brought with him my portrait in crayons, which a few years before
    he had exhibited at the salon. He wished to give me this portrait, which
    I did not choose to accept. But Madam d'Epinay, who had given me hers,
    and would have had this, prevailed upon me to ask him for it. He had
    taken some time to retouch the features. In the interval happened my
    rupture with Madam d'Epinay; I returned her her portrait; and giving her
    mine being no longer in question, I put it into my chamber, in the
    castle. M. de Luxembourg saw it there, and found it a good one; I
    offered it him, he accepted it, and I sent it to the castle. He and his
    lady comprehended I should be very glad to have theirs. They had them
    taken in miniature by a very skilful hand, set in a box of rock crystal,
    mounted with gold, and in a very handsome manner, with which I was
    delighted, made me a present of both. Madam de Luxenbourg would never
    consent that her portrait should be on the upper part of the box. She
    had reproached me several times with loving M. de Luxembourg better than
    I did her; I had not denied it because it was true. By this manner of
    placing her portrait she showed very politely, but very clearly, she had
    not forgotten the preference.

    Much about this time I was guilty of a folly which did not contribute to
    preserve me to her good graces. Although I had no knowledge of M. de
    Silhoutte, and was not much disposed to like him, I had a great opinion
    of his administration. When he began to let his hand fall rather heavily
    upon financiers, I perceived he did not begin his operation in a
    favorable moment, but he had my warmest wishes for his success; and as
    soon as I heard he was displaced I wrote to him, in my intrepid, heedless
    manner, the following letter, which I certainly do not undertake to

    MONTMORENCY, 2d December, 1759.

    "Vouchsafe, sir, to receive the homage of a solitary man, who is not
    known to you, but who esteems you for your talents, respects you for your
    administration, and who did you the honor to believe you would not long
    remain in it. Unable to save the State, except at the expense of the
    capital by which it has been ruined, you have braved the clamors of the
    gainers of money. When I saw you crush these wretches, I envied you your
    place; and at seeing you quit it without departing from your system,
    I admire you. Be satisfied with yourself, sir; the step you have taken
    will leave you an honor you will long enjoy without a competitor. The
    malediction of knaves is the glory of an honest man."

    Madam de Luxembourg, who knew I had written this letter, spoke to me of
    it when she came into the country at Easter. I showed it to her and she
    was desirous of a copy; this I gave her, but when I did it I did not know
    she was interested in under-farms, and the displacing of M. de Silhoutte.
    By my numerous follies any person would have imagined I wilfully
    endeavored to bring on myself the hatred of an amiable woman who had
    power, and to whom, in truth, I daily became more attached, and was far
    from wishing to occasion her displeasure, although by my awkward manner
    of proceeding, I did everything proper for that purpose. I think it
    superfluous to remark here, that it is to her the history of the opiate
    of M. Tronchin, of which I have spoken in the first part of my memoirs,
    relates; the other lady was Madam de Mirepoix. They have never mentioned
    to me the circumstance, nor has either of them, in the least, seemed to
    have preserved a remembrance of it; but to presume that Madam de
    Luxembourg can possibly have forgotten it appears to me very difficult,
    and would still remain so, even were the subsequent events entirely
    unknown. For my part, I fell into a deceitful security relative to the
    effects of my stupid mistakes, by an internal evidence of my not having
    taken any step with an intention to offend; as if a woman could ever
    forgive what I had done, although she might be certain the will had not
    the least part in the matter.

    Although she seemed not to see or feel anything, and that I did not
    immediately find either her warmth of friendship diminished or the least
    change in her manner, the continuation and even increase of a too well
    founded foreboding made me incessantly tremble, lest disgust should
    succeed to infatuation. Was it possible for me to expect in a lady of
    such high rank, a constancy proof against my want of address to support
    it? I was unable to conceal from her this secret foreboding, which made
    me uneasy, and rendered me still more disagreeable. This will be judged
    of by the following letter, which contains a very singular prediction.

    N. B. This letter, without date in my rough copy, was written in
    October, 1760, at latest.

    "How cruel is your goodness? Why disturb the peace of a solitary mortal
    who had renounced the pleasures of life, that he might no longer suffer
    the fatigues of them. I have passed my days in vainly searching for
    solid attachments. I have not been able to form any in the ranks to
    which I was equal; is it in yours that I ought to seek for them? Neither
    ambition nor interest can tempt me: I am not vain, but little fearful; I
    can resist everything except caresses. Why do you both attack me by a
    weakness which I must overcome, because in the distance by which we are
    separated, the over-flowings of susceptible hearts cannot bring mine near
    to you? Will gratitude be sufficient for a heart which knows not two
    manners of bestowing its affections, and feels itself incapable of
    everything except friendship? Of friendship, madam la marechale! Ah!
    there is my misfortune! It is good in you and the marechal to make use
    of this expression; but I am mad when I take you at your word. You amuse
    yourselves, and I become attached; and the end of this prepares for me
    new regrets. How I do hate all your titles, and pity you on account of
    your being obliged to bear them? You seem to me to be so worthy of
    tasting the charms of private life! Why do not you reside at Clarens?
    I would go there in search of happiness; but the castle of Montmorency,
    and the Hotel de Luxembourg! Is it in these places Jean Jacques ought to
    be seen? Is it there a friend to equality ought to carry the affections
    of a sensible heart, and who thus paying the esteem in which he is held,
    thinks he returns as much as he receives? You are good and susceptible
    also: this I know and have seen; I am sorry I was not sooner convinced of
    it; but in the rank you hold, in the manner of living, nothing can make a
    lasting impression; a succession of new objects efface each other so that
    not one of them remains. You will forget me, madam, after having made it
    impossible for me to imitate, you. You have done a great deal to make me
    unhappy, to be inexcusable."

    I joined with her the marechal, to render the compliment less severe; for
    I was moreover so sure of him, that I never had a doubt in my mind of the
    continuation of his friendship. Nothing that intimidated me in madam la
    marechale, ever for a moment extended to him. I never have had the least
    mistrust relative to his character, which I knew to be feeble, but
    constant. I no more feared a coldness on his part than I expected from
    him an heroic attachment. The simplicity and familiarity of our manners
    with each other proved how far dependence was reciprocal. We were both
    always right: I shall ever honor and hold dear the memory of this worthy
    man, and, notwithstanding everything that was done to detach him from me,
    I am as certain of his having died my friend as if I had been present in
    his last moments.

    At the second journey to Montmorency, in the year 1760, the reading of
    Eloisa being finished, I had recourse to that of Emilius, to support
    myself in the good graces of Madam de Luxembourg; but this, whether the
    subject was less to her taste; or that so much reading at length fatigued
    her, did not succeed so well. However, as she reproached me with
    suffering myself to be the dupe of booksellers, she wished me to leave to
    her care the printing the work, that I might reap from it a greater
    advantage. I consented to her doing it, on the express condition of its
    not being printed in France, on which we had along dispute; I affirming
    that it was impossible to obtain, and even imprudent to solicit, a tacit
    permission; and being unwilling to permit the impression upon any other
    terms in the kingdom; she, that the censor could not make the least
    difficulty, according to the system government had adopted. She found
    means to make M. de Malesherbes enter into her views. He wrote to me on
    the subject a long letter with his own hand, to prove the profession of
    faith of the Savoyard vicar to be a composition which must everywhere
    gain the approbation of its readers and that of the court, as things were
    then circumstanced. I was surprised to see this magistrate, always so
    prudent, become so smooth in the business, as the printing of a book was
    by that alone legal, I had no longer any objection to make to that of the
    work. Yet, by an extraordinary scruple, I still required it should be
    printed in Holland, and by the bookseller Neaulme, whom, not satisfied
    with indicating him, I informed of my wishes, consenting the edition
    should be brought out for the profit of a French bookseller, and that as
    soon as it was ready it should be sold at Paris, or wherever else it
    might be thought proper, as with this I had no manner of concern. This
    is exactly what was agreed upon between Madam de Luxembourg and myself,
    after which I gave her my manuscript.

    Madam de Luxembourg was this time accompanied by her granddaughter
    Mademoiselle de Boufflers, now Duchess of Lauzun. Her name was Amelia.
    She was a charming girl. She really had a maiden beauty, mildness and
    timidity. Nothing could be more lovely than her person, nothing more
    chaste and tender than the sentiments she inspired. She was, besides,
    still a child under eleven years of age. Madam de Luxembourg, who
    thought her too timid, used every endeavor to animate her. She permitted
    me several times to give her a kiss, which I did with my usual
    awkwardness. Instead of saying flattering things to her, as any other
    person would have done, I remained silent and disconcerted, and I know
    not which of the two, the little girl or myself, was most ashamed.

    I met her one day alone in the staircase of the little castle. She had
    been to see Theresa, with whom her governess still was. Not knowing what
    else to say, I proposed to her a kiss, which, in the innocence of her
    heart, she did not refuse; having in the morning received one from me by
    order of her grandmother, and in her presence. The next day, while
    reading Emilius by the side of the bed of Madam de Luxembourg, I came to
    a passage in which I justly censure that which I had done the preceding
    evening. She thought the reflection extremely just, and said some very
    sensible things upon the subject which made me blush. How was I enraged
    at my incredible stupidity, which has frequently given me the appearance
    of guilt when I was nothing more than a fool and embarrassed!
    A stupidity, which in a man known to be endowed with some wit, is
    considered as a false excuse. I can safely swear that in this kiss, as
    well as in the others, the heart and thoughts of Mademoiselle Amelia were
    not more pure than my own, and that if I could have avoided meeting her I
    should have done it; not that I had not great pleasure in seeing her, but
    from the embarrassment of not finding a word proper to say. Whence comes
    it that even a child can intimidate a man, whom the power of kings has
    never inspired with fear? What is to be done? How, without presence of
    mind, am I to act? If I strive to speak to the persons I meet,
    I certainly say some stupid thing to them; if I remain silent, I am a
    misanthrope, an unsociable animal, a bear. Total imbecility would have
    been more favorable to me; but the talents which I have failed to improve
    in the world have become the instruments of my destruction, and of that
    of the talents I possessed.

    At the latter end of this journey, Madam de Luxembourg did a good action
    in which I had some share. Diderot having very imprudently offended the
    Princess of Robeck, daughter of M. de Luxembourg, Palissot, whom she
    protected, took up the quarrel, and revenged her by the comedy of 'The
    Philosophers', in which I was ridiculed, and Diderot very roughly
    handled. The author treated me with more gentleness, less, I am of
    opinion, on account of the obligation he was under to me, than from the
    fear of displeasing the father of his protectress, by whom he knew I was
    beloved. The bookseller Duchesne, with whom I was not at that time
    acquainted, sent me the comedy when it was printed, and this I suspect
    was by the order of Palissot, who, perhaps, thought I should have a
    pleasure in seeing a man with whom I was no longer connected defamed.
    He was greatly deceived. When I broke with Diderot, whom I thought less
    ill-natured than weak and indiscreet, I still always preserved for his
    person an attachment, an esteem even, and a respect for our ancient
    friendship, which I know was for a long time as sincere on his part as on
    mine. The case was quite different with Grimm; a man false by nature,
    who never loved me, who is not even capable of friendship, and a person
    who, without the least subject of complaint, and solely to satisfy his
    gloomy jealousy, became, under the mask of friendship, my most cruel
    calumniator. This man is to me a cipher; the other will always be my old

    My very bowels yearned at the sight of this odious piece: the reading of
    it was insupportable to me, and, without going through the whole, I
    returned the copy to Duchesne with the following letter:

    MONTMORENCY, 21st, May, 1760.

    "In casting my eyes over the piece you sent me, I trembled at seeing
    myself well spoken of in it. I do not accept the horrid present. I am
    persuaded that in sending it me, you did not intend an insult; but you do
    not know, or have forgotten, that I have the honor to be the friend of a
    respectable man, who is shamefully defamed and calumniated in this

    Duchense showed the letter. Diderot, upon whom it ought to have had an
    effect quite contrary, was vexed at it. His pride could not forgive me
    the superiority of a generous action, and I was informed his wife
    everywhere inveighed against me with a bitterness with which I was not in
    the least affected, as I knew she was known to everybody to be a noisy

    Diderot in his turn found an avenger in the Abbe Morrellet, who wrote
    against Palissot a little work, imitated from the 'Petit Prophete',
    and entitled the Vision. In this production he very imprudently offended
    Madam de Robeck, whose friends got him sent to the Bastile; though she,
    not naturally vindictive, and at that time in a dying state, I am certain
    had nothing to do with the affair.

    D'Alembert, who was very intimately connected with Morrellet, wrote me a
    letter, desiring I would beg of Madam de Luxembourg to solicit his
    liberty, promising her in return encomiums in the 'Encyclopedie';
    my answer to this letter was as follows:

    "I did not wait the receipt of your letter before I expressed to Madam de
    Luxembourg the pain the confinement of the Abbe Morrellet gave me. She
    knows my concern, and shall be made acquainted with yours, and her
    knowing that the abbe is a man of merit will be sufficient to make her
    interest herself in his behalf. However, although she and the marechal
    honor me with a benevolence which is my greatest consolation, and that
    the name of your friend be to them a recommendation in favor of the Abbe
    Morrellet, I know not how far, on this occasion, it may be proper for
    them to employ the credit attached to the rank they hold, and the
    consideration due to their persons. I am not even convinced that the
    vengeance in question relates to the Princess Robeck so much as you seem
    to imagine; and were this even the case, we must not suppose that the
    pleasure of vengeance belongs to philosophers exclusively, and that when
    they choose to become women, women will become philosophers.

    "I will communicate to you whatever Madam de Luxembourg may say to me
    after having shown her your letter. In the meantime, I think I know her
    well enough to assure you that, should she have the pleasure of
    contributing to the enlargement of the Abbe Morrellet, she will not
    accept the tribute of acknowledgment you promise her in the Encyclopedie,
    although she might think herself honored by it, because she does not do
    good in the expectation of praise, but from the dictates of her heart."

    I made every effort to excite the zeal and commiseration of Madam de
    Luxembourg in favor of the poor captive, and succeeded to my wishes.
    She went to Versailles on purpose to speak to M. de St. Florentin, and
    this journey shortened the residence at Montmorency, which the marechal
    was obliged to quit at the same time to go to Rouen, whither the king
    sent him as governor of Normandy, on account of the motions of the
    parliament, which government wished to keep within bounds. Madam de
    Luxembourg wrote me the following letter the day after her departure:

    VERSAILLES, Wednesday.

    "M. de Luxembourg set off yesterday morning at six o'clock. I do not yet
    know that I shall follow him. I wait until he writes to me, as he is not
    yet certain of the stay it will be necessary for him to make. I have
    seen M. de St. Florentin, who is as favorably disposed as possible
    towards the Abbe Morrellet; but he finds some obstacles to his wishes
    which however, he is in hopes of removing the first time he has to do
    business with the king, which will be next week. I have also desired as
    a favor that he might not be exiled, because this was intended; he was to
    be sent to Nancy. This, sir, is what I have been able to obtain; but I
    promise you I will not let M. de St. Florentin rest until the affair is
    terminated in the manner you desire. Let me now express to you how sorry
    I am on account of my being obliged to leave you so soon, of which I
    flatter myself you have not the least doubt. I love you with all my
    heart, and shall do so for my whole life."

    A few days afterwards I received the following note from D'Alembert,
    which gave me real joy.

    August 1st.

    "Thanks to your cares, my dear philosopher, the abbe has left the
    Bastile, and his imprisonment will have no other consequence. He is
    setting off for the country, and, as well as myself, returns you a
    thousand thanks and compliments. 'Vale et me ama'."

    The abbe also wrote to me a few days afterwards a letter of thanks, which
    did not, in my opinion, seem to breathe a certain effusion of the heart,
    and in which he seemed in some measure to extenuate the service I had
    rendered him. Some time afterwards, I found that he and D'Alembert had,
    to a certain degree, I will not say supplanted, but succeeded me in the
    good graces of Madam de Luxembourg, and that I Had lost in them all they
    had gained. However, I am far from suspecting the Abbe Morrellet of
    having contributed to my disgrace; I have too much esteem for him to
    harbor any such suspicion. With respect to D'Alembert, I shall at
    present leave him out of the question, and hereafter say of him what may
    seem necessary.

    I had, at the same time, another affair which occasioned the last letter
    I wrote to Voltaire; a letter against which he vehemently exclaimed, as
    an abominable insult, although he never showed it to any person. I will
    here supply the want of that which he refused to do.

    The Abbe Trublet, with whom I had a slight acquaintance, but whom I had
    but seldom seen, wrote to me on the 13th of June, 1760, informing me that
    M. Formey, his friend and correspondent, had printed in his journal my
    letter to Voltaire upon the disaster at Lisbon. The abbe wished to know
    how the letter came to be printed, and in his jesuitical manner, asked me
    my opinion, without giving me his own on the necessity of reprinting it.
    As I most sovereignly hate this kind of artifice and strategem, I
    returned such thanks as were proper, but in a manner so reserved as to
    make him feel it, although this did not prevent him from wheedling me in
    two or three other letters until he had gathered all he wished to know.

    I clearly understood that, not withstanding all Trublet could say, Formey
    had not found the letter printed, and that the first impression of it
    came from himself. I knew him to be an impudent pilferer, who, without
    ceremony, made himself a revenue by the works of others. Although he had
    not yet had the incredible effrontery to take from a book already
    published the name of the author, to put his own in the place of it, and
    to sell the book for his own profit.

    [In this manner he afterwards appropriated to himself Emilius.]

    But by what means had this manuscript fallen into his hands? That was a
    question not easy to resolve, but by which I had the weakness to be
    embarrassed. Although Voltaire was excessively honored by the letter,
    as in fact, notwithstanding his rude proceedings, he would have had a
    right to complain had I had it printed without his consent, I resolved to
    write to him upon the subject. The second letter was as follows, to
    which he returned no answer, and giving greater scope to his brutality,
    he feigned to be irritated to fury.

    MONTMORENCY, 17th June, 1760.

    "I did not think, sir, I should ever have occasion to correspond with
    you. But learning the letter I wrote to you in 1756 had been printed at
    Berlin, I owe you an account of my conduct in that respect, and will
    fulfil this duty with truth and simplicity.

    "The letter having really been addressed to you was not intended to be
    printed. I communicated the contents of it, on certain conditions, to
    three persons, to whom the right of friendship did not permit me to
    refuse anything of the kind, and whom the same rights still less
    permitted to abuse my confidence by betraying their promise. These
    persons are Madam de Chenonceaux, daughter-in-law to Madam Dupin, the
    Comtesse d'Houdetot, and a German of the name of Grimm. Madam de
    Chenonceaux was desirous the letter should be printed, and asked my
    consent. I told her that depended upon yours. This was asked of you
    which you refused, and the matter dropped.

    "However, the Abbe Trublet, with whom I have not the least connection,
    has just written to me from a motive of the most polite attention that
    having received the papers of the journal of M. Formey, he found in them
    this same letter with an advertisement, dated on the 23d of October,
    1759, in which the editor states that he had a few weeks before found it
    in the shops of the booksellers of Berlin, and, as it is one of those
    loose sheets which shortly disappear, he thought proper to give it a
    place in his journal.

    "This, sir, is all I know of the matter. It is certain the letter had
    not until lately been heard of at Paris. It is also as certain that the
    copy, either in manuscript or print, fallen into the hands of M. de
    Formey, could never have reached them except by your means (which is not
    probable) or of those of one of the three persons I have mentioned.
    Finally, it is well known the two ladies are incapable of such a perfidy.
    I cannot, in my retirement learn more relative to the affair. You have a
    correspondence by means of which you may, if you think it worth the
    trouble, go back to the source and verify the fact.

    "In the same letter the Abbe' Trublet informs me that he keeps the paper
    in reserve, and will not lend it without my consent, which most assuredly
    I will not give. But it is possible this copy may not be the only one in
    Paris. I wish, sir, the letter may not be printed there, and I will do
    all in my power to prevent this from happening; but if I cannot succeed,
    and that, timely perceiving it, I can have the preference, I will not
    then hesitate to have it immediately printed. This to me appears just
    and natural.

    "With respect to your answer to the same letter, it has not been
    communicated to anyone, and you may be assured it shall not be printed
    without your consent, which I certainly shall not be indiscreet enough to
    ask of you, well knowing that what one man writes to another is not
    written to the public. But should you choose to write one you wish to
    have published, and address it to me, I promise you faithfully to add to
    it my letter and not to make to it a single word of reply.

    "I love you not, sir; you have done me, your disciple and enthusiastic
    admirer; injuries which might have caused me the most exquisite pain.
    You have ruined Geneva, in return for the asylum it has afforded you;
    you have alienated from me my fellow-citizens, in return for eulogiums I
    made of you amongst them; it is you who render to me the residence of my
    own country insupportable; it is you who will oblige me to die in a
    foreign land, deprived of all the consolations usually administered to a
    dying person; and cause me, instead of receiving funeral rites, to be
    thrown to the dogs, whilst all the honors a man can expect will accompany
    you in my country. Finally I hate you because you have been desirous I
    should but I hate you as a man more worthy of loving you had you chosen
    it. Of all the sentiments with which my heart was penetrated for you,
    admiration, which cannot be refused your fine genius, and a partiality to
    your writings, are those you have not effaced. If I can honor nothing in
    you except your talents, the fault is not mine. I shall never be wanting
    in the respect due to them, nor in that which this respect requires."

    In the midst of these little literary cavillings, which still fortified
    my resolution, I received the greatest honor letters ever acquired me,
    and of which I was the most sensible, in the two visits the Prince of
    Conti deigned to make to me, one at the Little Castle and the other at
    Mont Louis. He chose the time for both of these when M. de Luxembourg
    was not at Montmorency, in order to render it more manifest that he came
    there solely on my account. I have never had a doubt of my owing the
    first condescensions of this prince to Madam de Luxembourg and Madam de
    Boufflers; but I am of opinion I owe to his own sentiments and to myself
    those with which he has since that time continually honored me.

    [Remark the perseverance of this blind and stupid confidence in the
    midst of all the treatment which should soonest have undeceived me.
    It continued until my return to Paris in 1770.]

    My apartments at Mont Louis being small, and the situation of the alcove
    charming, I conducted the prince to it, where, to complete the
    condescension he was pleased to show me, he chose I should have the honor
    of playing with him a game of chess. I knew he beat the Chevalier de
    Lorenzy, who played better than I did. However, notwithstanding the
    signs and grimace of the chevalier and the spectators, which I feigned
    not to see, I won the two games we played: When they were ended, I said
    to him in a respectful but very grave manner: "My lord, I honor your
    serene highness too much not to beat you always at chess." This great
    prince, who had real wit, sense, and knowledge, and so was worthy not to
    be treated with mean adulation, felt in fact, at least I think so, that I
    was the only person present who treated him like a man, and I have every
    reason to believe he was not displeased with me for it.

    Had this even been the case, I should not have reproached myself with
    having been unwilling to deceive him in anything, and I certainly cannot
    do it with having in my heart made an ill return for his goodness, but
    solely with having sometimes done it with an ill grace, whilst he himself
    accompanied with infinite gracefulness the manner in which he showed me
    the marks of it. A few days afterwards he ordered a hamper of game to be
    sent me, which I received as I ought. This in a little time was
    succeeded by another, and one of his gamekeepers wrote me, by order of
    his highness, that the game it contained had been shot by the prince
    himself. I received this second hamper, but I wrote to Madam de
    Boufflers that I would not receive a third. This letter was generally
    blamed, and deservedly so. Refusing to accept presents of game from a
    prince of the blood, who moreover sends it in so polite a manner, is less
    the delicacy of a haughty man, who wishes to preserve his independence,
    than the rusticity of a clown, who does not know himself. I have never
    read this letter in my collection without blushing and reproaching myself
    for having written it. But I have not undertaken my Confession with an
    intention of concealing my faults, and that of which I have just spoken
    is too shocking in my own eyes to suffer me to pass it over in silence.

    If I were not guilty of the offence of becoming his rival I was very near
    doing it; for Madam de Boufflers was still his mistress, and I knew
    nothing of the matter. She came rather frequently to see me with the
    Chevalier de Lorenzy. She was yet young and beautiful, affected to be
    whimsical, and my mind was always romantic, which was much of the same
    nature. I was near being laid hold of; I believe she perceived it; the
    chevalier saw it also, at least he spoke to me upon the subject, and in a
    manner not discouraging. But I was this time reasonable, and at the age
    of fifty it was time I should be so. Full of the doctrine I had just
    preached to graybeards in my letter to D'Alembert, I should have been
    ashamed of not profiting by it myself; besides, coming to the knowledge
    of that of which I had been ignorant, I must have been mad to have
    carried my pretensions so far as to expose myself to such an illustrious
    rivalry. Finally, ill cured perhaps of my passion for Madam de Houdetot,
    I felt nothing could replace it in my heart, and I bade adieu to love for
    the rest of my life. I have this moment just withstood the dangerous
    allurements of a young woman who had her views; and if she feigned to
    forget my twelve lustres I remember them. After having thus withdrawn
    myself from danger, I am no longer afraid of a fall, and I answer for
    myself for the rest of my days.

    Madam de Boufflers, perceiving the emotion she caused in me, might also
    observe I had triumphed over it. I am neither mad nor vain enough to
    believe I was at my age capable of inspiring her with the same feelings;
    but, from certain words which she let drop to Theresa, I thought I had
    inspired her with a curiosity; if this be the case, and that she has not
    forgiven me the disappointment she met with, it must be confessed I was
    born to be the victim of my weaknesses, since triumphant love was so
    prejudicial to me, and love triumphed over not less so.

    Here finishes the collection of letters which has served me as a guide in
    the last two books. My steps will in future be directed by memory only;
    but this is of such a nature, relative to the period to which I am now
    come, and the strong impression of objects has remained so perfectly upon
    my mind, that lost in the immense sea of my misfortunes, I cannot forget
    the detail of my first shipwreck, although the consequences present to me
    but a confused remembrance. I therefore shall be able to proceed in the
    succeeding book with sufficient confidence. If I go further it will be
    groping in the dark.

    Next Chapter
    Chapter 11
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Jean Jacques Rousseau essay and need some advice, post your Jean Jacques Rousseau essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?