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(Ianuary, 1810.) Correspondance inédite de MADAME DU DEFFAND, avec D'Alembert, Montesquieu, le Président
Henault, La Duchesse du Maine, Mesdames de Choiseul, De Staal, 8c. &c. 3 tomes, 12mo. Paris : 1809.
Lettres de MADEMOISELLE DE LESPINASSE, écrites depuis l'Année 1773 jusqu'à l'Année 1776, &c.
3 tomes, 12mo. Paris : 1809.
The popular works of La Harpe and Mar- Where the letters that are now given to the montel have made the names at least of these world have been secreted for the last thirty ladies pretty well known in this country; and years, or by whom they are at last publish. we have been induced to place their corres-ed, we are not informed in either of the works pondence under one article, both because their before us. That they are authentic, we conhistory is in some measure connected, and ceive, is demonstrated by internal evidence; because, though extremely unlike each other, though, if more of them are extant, the selecthey both form a decided contrast to our own tion that has been made appears to us to be a national character, and, taken together, go far little capricious. The correspondence of to exhaust what was peculiar in that of France. Madame du Deffand reaches from the year
Most of our readers probably remember 1738 to 1764;—that of Mademoiselle de Leswhat La Harpe and Marmontel have said of pinasse extends only from 1773 to 1776. The these two distinguished women; and, at all iwo works, therefore, relate to different peevents, it is not necessary for our purpose to riods; and, being entirely of different characgive more than a very superficial account of ters, seem naturally to call for a separate them. Madame du Deffand was left a widow consideration. We begin with the corresponwith a moderate fortune, and a great reputa- dence of Madame du Defland, both out of tion for wit, about 1750; and soon after gave respect to her seniority, and because the vaup her hotel, and retired to apartments in the riety which it exhibits seems to afford room couvent de St. Joseph, where she continued to for more observation. receive, almost every evening, whatever was As this lady's house was for fifty years the most distinguished in Paris for rank, talent, resort of every thing brilliant in Paris, it is or accomplishment. Having become almost natural tv suppose, that she herself must have blind in a few years thereafter, she found she possessed no ordinary attraction—and to feel required the attendance of some intelligent an eager curiosity to be introduced even to Fourg woman, who might read and write for that shadow of her conversation which we her, and assist in doing the honours of her may expect to meet with in her correspondconversazioni. For this purpose she cast her ence. Though the greater part of the letters eyes on Mademoiselle Lespinasse, the illegiti- are addressed to her by various correspondmate daughter of a man of rank, who had ents, yet the few which she does write are been boarded in the same convent, and was strongly marked with the traces of her pecufor some time delighted with her election. liar character and talent; and the whole taken By and bye, however, she found that her together give a very lively idea of the strucyoung companion began to engross more of ture and occupations of the best French sothe notice of her visitors than she thought ciety, in the days of its greatest splendour. suitable; and parted from her with violent, Laying out of view the greater constitutional ungenerous, and implacable displeasure. gaiety of our neighbours, it appears to us, thai Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, however, carried this society was distinguished from any
that with her the admiration of the greater part of has ever existed in England, by three circumher patroness' circle; and having obtained a stances chiefly:—in the first place, by the small pension from government, opened her exclusion of all low-bred persons; secondly, own doors to a society not less brilliant than by the superior intelligence and cultivation of that into which she had been initiated under the women; and, finally, by the want of politiMadame du Deffand. The fatigue, however, cal avocations, and the absence of political which she had undergone in reading the old antipathies. marchioness asleep, had irreparably injured By the first of these circumstances, the old her health, which was still more impaired by Parisian society was rendered considerably the agitations of her own inflammable and more refined, and infinitely more easy and ambitious spirit; and she died, before she had natural. The general and peremptory proobtained middle age, about 1776,-leaving on scription of the bourgeois, excluded, no doubt. the minds of almost all the eminent men in a good deal of vulgarity and coarseness; bui France, an impression of talent, and of ardour it had a still better effect in excluding those of imagination, which seems to have been feelings of mutual jealousy and contempt, and considered as without example. Madame du that conflict of family pride and consequential Deffand continued to preside in her circle till opulence, which can only be prevented from a period of extreme old age; and died in disturbing a more promiscuous assembly, by 1780, in full possession of her faculties. means of universal and systematic reserve.
Where all are noble, all are equal;—there is | had nothing but society to attend to; whereas, no room for ostentation or pretension of any in the latter, almost all who are considerable sort; every one is in his place every where; for ranks or for talents, are continually en. and the same manners being familiar to the grossed with politics. They have no leisure, whole society from their childhood, manners therefore, for society, in the first place: in the cease in a great measure to be an object of second place, if they do enter it at all, they are attention. Nobody apprehends any imputa- apt to regard it as a scene rather of relaxation tion of vulgarity; and nobody values himself than exertion; and, finally, they naturally on being free from it. The little peculiarities acquire those 'habits of thinking and of talkby which individuals are distinguished, are ing, which are better adapted to carry on ascribed, not to ignorance or awkwardness, business and debate, than to enliven people but to caprice merely; or to peculiarity of dis- assembled for amusement. In England, men position ; and not being checked by contempt of condition have still to perform the high or derision, are indulged, for the most part, as duties of citizens and statesmen, and can only caprice or disposition may dictate; and thus rise to eminence by dedicating their days and the very highest society is brought back, and nights to the study of business and affairs by the same causes, to much of the freedom to the arts of influencing those, with whom, and simplicity of the lowest.
and by whom, they are to act-and to the In England, we have never had this ar- actual management of those strenuous conrangement. The great wealth of the mercan- tentions by which the government of a free tile classes, and the privilege which every state is perpetually embarrassed and preman here possesses of aspiring to every situa- served. În France, on the contrary, under tion, has always prevented any such complete the old monarchy, men of the first rank had separation of the high and the low-born, even no political functions to discharge-no control in ordinary society, and made all large assem- to exercise over the government—and no rights blages of people to a certain degree promis- to assert, either for themselves or their fellow
Great wealth, or great talents, being subjects. They were either left, therefore, sufficient to raise a man to power and emi- to solace their idleness with the frivolous ennence, are necessarily received as a sufficient chantments of polished society, or, if they had passport into private company; and fill it, on any object of public ambition, were driven to the large scale, with such motley and dis- pursue it by the mediation of those favourites cordant characters, as visibly to endanger or mistresses who were most likely to be won either its ease or its tranquillity. The pride by the charms of an elegant address, or the of purse, and of rank, and of manners, mutu- assiduities of a skilful flatterer. ally provoke each other; and vanities which It is to this lamentable inferiority in the were undiscovered while they were univer- government and constitution of their country, sal, soon become visible in the light of oppo- that the French are indebted for the superivite vanities. With us, therefore, society, ority of their polite assemblies. Their saloons when it passes beyond select clubs and asso- are better filled than ours, because they have no ciations, is apt either to be distracted with senate to fill out of their population; and their little jealousies and divisions, or finally to conversation is more sprightly, and their sosettle into constraint, insipidity, and reserve. ciety more animated than ours, because there People meeting from all the extremes of life, is no other outlet for the talent and ingenuity are afraid of being misconstrued, and despair of the nation but society and conversation. of being understood. Conversation is left to Our parties of pleasure, on the other hand, are a few professed talkers; and all the rest are mostly left to beardless youths and superansatisfied to hold their tongues, and despise nuated idlers—not because our men want each other in their hearts.
talents or taste to adorn them, but because The superior cultivation of French Women, their ambition, and their sense of public duty, however, was productive of still more sub- have dedicated them to a higher service. stantial advantages. Ever since Europe be- When we lose our constitution—when the came civilised, the females of that country houses of parliament are shut up, our assemhave stood more on an intellectual level with blies, we have no doubt, will be far more anithe men than in any other,--and have taken mated and rational. It would be easy to have their share in the politics and literature, and splendid gardens and parterres, if we would public controversies of the day, far more only give up our corn fields and our pastures: largely than in any other nation with which nor should we want for magnificent fountains we are acquainted. For more than two cen- and ornamental canals, if we were contented turies, they have been the umpires of polite to drain the whole surrounding country of the letters, and the depositaries and the agents of rills that maintain its fertility and beauty. those intrigues by which the functions of gov- But, while it is impossible to deny that the ernment are usually forwarded or impeded. French enjoyed, in the agreeable constitution They could talk, therefore, of every thing that of their higher society, no slight compensation dien could wish to talk about; and general for the want of a free government, it is curious, conversation, consequently, assumed a tone, and not unsatisfactory, to be able to trace the both less frivolous and less uniform, than it operation of this same compensating principle has ever attained in our country.
through all the departments we have alluded The grand source, however, of the differ- to. It is obviously to our free government, ence between the good society of France and and to nothing else, that we owe that mixture of England, is that, in the former counry, men of ranks and of characters, which certainly
renders our large society less amiable, and I looked upon as having renounced both the gay less unconstrained, than that of the old French and busy world; and the consequence is, that nobility. Men, possessed of wealth and po- the gay are extremely frivolous, and the aclitical power, must be associated with by all tive rash and superficial; while the man of with whom they choose to associate, and to genius is admired by posterity, and finishes whom their friendship or support is material. his days rather dismally, without knowing or A trader who has bought his borough but yes- caring for any other denomination of men, terday, will not give his influence to any set than authors, booksellers and critics. of noblemen or ministers, who will not receive This distinction too, we think, arises out of him and his family into their society, and the difference of government, or out of some agree to treat them as their equals. The same of its more immediate consequences. Our principle extends downwards by impercepti- politicians are too busy to mix with men of ble gradations;—and the whole community is study; and our idlers are too weak and too mingled in private life, it must be owned with frivolous. The studious, therefore, are driven some little discomfort, by the ultimate action in a great measure to herd with each other, of the same principles which combine them, and to form a little world of their own, in to their incalculable benefit, in public. which all their peculiarities are aggravated,
Even the backwardness or the ignorance of their vanity encouraged, and their awkwardour women may be referred to the same no- ness confirmed. In Paris, where talent and ble origin. Women have no legal or direct idleness met together, a society grew up, both political functions in any country in the uni- more inviting and more accessible to men of verse. In the arbitrary governments of Eu- thought and erudition. What they commurope, however, they exert a personal influence nicated to this society rendered it more intelover those in power and authority, which ligent and respectable; and what they learned raises them into consequence, familiarizes from it, made them much more reasonable, them in some degree with business and affairs, amiable, and happy. They learned, in short, and leads them to study the character and the the true value of knowledge and of wisdom, dispositions of the most eminent persons of by seeing exactly how much they could contheir day. In free states, again, where the tribute to the government or the embellishpersonal inclination of any individual can go ment of life; and discovered, that there were but a little way, and where every thing must sources both of pride and of happiness, far be canvassed and sanctioned by its legitimate more important and abundant than thinking, censors, this influence is very inconsiderable; writing, or reading. and women are excluded almost entirely from It is curious, accordingly, to trace in the any concern in those affairs, with which the volumes before us, the more intimate and leading spirits of the country are necessarily private life of some of those distinguished occupied. They come, therefore, almost un- men, whom we find it difficult to represent to avoidably, to be considered as of a lower order ourselves under any other aspect, than that of intellect, and to act, and to be treated, upon of the authors of their learned publications. that apprehension. The chief cause of their D'Alembert, Montesquieu, Henault, and sevinferiority, however, arises from the circum- eral others, all appear in those letters in their stances that have been already stated. Most true and habitual character, of cheerful and of the men of talent in upper life are engaged careless men of the world—whose thoughts in pursuits from which women are necessarily ran mostly on the little exertions and amuseexcluded, and have no leisure to join in those ments of their daily society; who valued even pursuits which might occupy them in com- their greatest works chiefly as the means of mon. Being thus abandoned in a good degree amusing their leisure, or of entitling them to to the society of the frivolous of our sex, it is the admiration of their acquaintances; and impossible that they should not be frivolous occupied themselves about posterity far less in their turn. In old France, on the contrary, than posterity will be occupied about them. the men of talents in upper life had little to It will probably scandalize a good part of our do but to please and be pleased with the women of learning and science (though we think men; and they naturally came to acquire that it will be consolatory to some) to be told, that knowledge and those accomplishments which there is great reason for suspecting that the fitted them for such society.
most profound of those authors looked upon The last distinction between good French learning chiefly as a sort of tranquil and inand good English society, arises from the dif- nocent amusement; to which it was very well ferent position which was occupied in each to have recourse when more lively occupaby the men of letters. In France, certainly, tions were not at hand, but which it was wise they mingled much more extensively with the and meritorious, at all times, to postpone to políte world,—incalculably to the benefit both pleasant parties, and the natural play, either of that world, and of themselves. In England, of the imagination or of the affections. It apour great scholars and authors have commonly pears, accordingly, not only that they talked lived in their studies, or in the society of a easily and familiarly of all their works to their few learned friends or dependants; and their female friends, but that they gave themselves life has been so generally gloomy, laborious very little anxiety either about their sale, or and inelegant, that literature and intellectual their notoriety out of the sphere of their own eminence have lost some of their honours, and acquaintances, and made and invited all sorts much of their attraction. With us, when a of jokes upon them with unfeigned gaiety and man takes to authorship, he is commonly indifference. The lives of our learned' men
would be much happier, and their learning simplicity and openness of his character-hig much more useful and amiable, if they could perpetual gentleness and gaiety in societybe persuaded to see things in the same light. The unostentatious independence of his senti. It is more than time, however, to introduce ments and conduct—his natural and cheerful the reader to the characters in the volumes superiority to all feelings of worldly ambition, before 11s.
jealousy, or envy—and that air of perpetual Madame du Deffand's correspondence con- youth and unassuming kindness, which made sists of letters from Montesquieu, D'Alem- him so delightful and so happy in the society bert, Henault, D'Argens, Formont, Bernstorff, of women,-are traits which we scarcely exScheffer, &c. among the men, -and Mesdames pect to find in combination with those splendid de Staal, de Choiseul, &c. among the women. qualifications; and compose altogether a charHer own letters, as we have already intimat- acter of which we should have been tempted ed, form but a very inconsiderable part of to question the reality, were we not fortunate the collection ;-and, as these distinguished enough to be familiar with its counterpart in names naturally excite, in persons out of Paris, one living individual." more interest than that of any witty mar- It is not possible, perhaps, to give a better chioness whatsoever, we shall begin with idea of the character of D'Alembert, ihan some specimens of the intimate and private merely to state the fact, and the reason of his style of those eminent individuals, who are having refused to go to Berlin, to preside over already so well known for the value and the the academy founded there by Frederic. In beauty of their public instructions.
answer to a most flattering and urgent appliOf these, the oldest and the most popularly cation from that sovereign, he writes thus to known, was Montesquieu, -an author who M. D'Argens.f frequently appears profound when he is only “La situation où je suis seroit peut-être, monparadoxical, and seems to have studied with sieur, un motif suffisant pour bien d'autres, de regreat success the art of hiding a desultory and noncer à leur pays. Ma fortune est au-dessous du fantastical style of reasoning in imposing médiocre; 1700 liv. de rente font tout mon revenu: aphorisms, and epigrams of considerable et entièrement indépendant et maître de mes volontés, fect. It is impossible to read the Esprit des je n'ai point de famille qui s'y oppose ; oublié du
gouvernement comme tant de gens le sont de la Loir, without feeling that it is the work of an Providence, persécuté même autant qu'on peut indolent and very ingenious person, who had l'être quand on éviie de donner trop d'avantages fits of thoughtfulness and ambition; and had sur soi à la méchanceté des hommes; je n'ai aucune meditated the different points which it com- part aux récompenses qui pleuvent ici sur les gens prehends at long intervals
, and then connect. Malgré tout cela, monsieur, la tranquillité dont je
de lettres, avec plus de profusion que de lumières. ed them as he best could, by insinuations, jouis est si parfaite et si douce, que je ne puis ine metaphors, and vague verbal distinctions. résoudre à lui faire courir le moindre risque." There is but little of him in this collection; Supérieur à la mauvaise fortune, les épreuves de but what there is, is extremely characteristic: toute espèce que j'ai essuyées dans ce genre, m'ont D'Alembert had proposed that he should write endurci à l'indigence et au malheur, et ne m'ont
laissé de sensibilité que pour ceux qui me ressemthe articles Democracy and Despotism, for the blent. A force de privations, je me suis accoutumé Encyclopédie; to which proposal he answers sans effort à me contenter du plus étroit nécessaire, with much naïveté, as follows:
et je serois même en état de partager mon peu de for
tune avec d'honnêtes gens plus pauvres que moi. J'ai Quant à mon introduction dans l'Encyclopé. commencé, comme les autres hommes, par désirer die, c'est un beau palais où je serais bien glorieux les places et les richesses, j'ai fini par y renoncer ab. de mettre les pieds ; mais pour les deux articles solument; et de jour en jour je m'en trouve mieux. Démocratie et Despotisme, je ne voudrais pas pren. La vie retirée et assez obscure que je mère est dre ceux-la ; j'ai tiré, sur ces articles, de mon cer- parfaitement conforme à mon caracière, à mon veau tout ce qui y était. L'esprit que j'ai est un amour extrême pour l'indépendance, et peut-être moule; on n'en tire jamais que les mêmes portraits: même à un peu d'éloignement que les événemens ainsi je ne vous dirais que ce que j'ai dit, et peut. de ma vie m'ont inspiré pour les hommes. La re. être plus mal que je ne l'ai dit. Ainsi, si vous traiie ou le régime que me prescrivent mon état et voulez de moi, laissez à mon esprit le choix de quel mon goût m'ont procuré la santé la plus parfaite et ques articles ; et si vous voulez ce choix, ce fera la plus égale-c'est-à-dire, le premier bien d'un chez madame du Deffand avec du marasquin. Le philosophe; enfin j'ai le bonheur de jouir d'un petit pire Castel dit qu'il ne peut pas se corriger, parce nombre d'amis, dont le commerce et la confiance qu'en corrigeant son ouvrage, il en fait un autre; et font la consolation et le charme de ma vie. Jugez moi je ne puis pas me corriger, parce que je chante maintenant vous-même, monsieur, s'il m'est possitoujours la même chose. Il me vient dans l'esprit ble de renoncer à ces avantages, et de changer un que je pourrais prendre peut-être l'article Goût, et bonheur sûr pour une situation toujours incertaire, je prouverni bien que difficile est propriè communia quelque brillante qu'elle puisse être. Je ne doule dicere."-Vol. i. pp. 30, 31.
nullement des boniés du roi, et de tout ce qu'il peut There is likewise another very pleasing letter to M. de Henault, and a gay copy of verses
It cannot now offend the modesty of any living to Madame de Mirepoix ;—but we hasten on
reader, if I explain that the person here alluded 10
was my excellent and amiable friend, the late Pro. to a personage still more engaging. Of all fessor Playfair. the men of genius that ever existed, D'Alem- + This learned person writes in a very affected bert perhaps is the most amiable and truly and précieuse style. He ends one of his letters 10 respectable. The great extent and variety of D'Alembert with the following eloquent expreshis learning, his vast attainments and dis- sion :-“Ma santé s'effoiblit tous les jours de plus coveries in the mathematical sciences, and the révérences au père éternel: mais iandis que je res.
en plus; et je me dispose à aller faire bientôt mes beauty and eloquence of his literary composi- terai dans ce monde je serai le plus zélé de vos ad. tions, are known to all the world : But the mirateurs."
faire pour me rendre agréable mon nouvel état ; | derai ce que je gagnerai : il n'y a pas d'ap; arence mais, malheureusement pour moi, toutes les circon que cela se monie fort haut; il n'y a pas d'appastances essentielles à mon bonheur ne sont pas en rence non plus que je continue à travailler dans co son pouvoir. Si ma santé venoit à s'aliérer, ce qui genre. Je ferai de la géométrie, et je lirai Tacite! ne seroit que trop à craindre, que deviendrois-je | Il me semble qu'on a grande envie que je me taise. alors? Incapable de me rendre utile au roi, je me et en vérisé je ne demande pas mieux. Quand ma verrois forcé à aller finir mes jours loin de lui, et à petite fortune ne suffira plus à ma subsistence, je reprendre dans ma patrie, ou ailleurs, mon ancien me retirerai dans quelque endroit où je puisse vivre éiat, qui auroit perdu ses premiers charmes. Peut. et mourir à bon marché. Adieu, Madame. Es. étre même n'aurois-je plus la consolation de re timez, comme moi, les hommes ce qu'ils valent, et trouver en France les amis que j'y aurois laissés, et il ne vous manquera rien pour être heureuse. On à qui je percerois le cæur par mon départ. Je vous dit Voltaire raccommodé avec le roi de Prusse, et avoue, monsieur, que cette dernière raison seule Maupertuis retombé. Ma foi, les hommes sont peut tout sur moi.
bien toux, à commencer par les sages.”—Vol. ü. Enfin (et je vous prie d'être persuadé que je ne pp. 50, 51. cherche point à me parer ici d'une fausse modestie) “Eh bien! vous ne voulez donc pas, ni Formont je doute que je fusse aussi propre à celle place que non plus, que je me claquemure dans ma géomé. 8. M. veui bien le croire. Livré dès mon enfance trie? J'en suis pourtant bien lenté. Si vous saviez à des etudes continuelles, je n'ai que dans la théorie combien certe géométrie est une retraite douce à la la connoissance des hommes, qui est si nécessaire paresse ! el puis les sots ne vous lisent point, et par dans la p alique quand on a affaire à eux. La tran conséquent ne vous blâment ni ne vous louent : et quillité, et, si je l'ose dire, l'oisiveté du cabinet, comptez-vous cet avantage-là pour rien ? En tout m'ont rendu absolument incapable des détails aux- cas, j'ai de la géométrie pour un an, tout au moins. quels le chef d'un corps doit se livrer. D'ailleurs, Ah! que je fais à présent de belles choses que perdans les différens objets dont l'Académie s'occupe, sonne ne lira! il en est qui me sont entièrement inconnus, comme "J'ai bien quelques morceaux de littérature à la chimie, l'histoire naturelle, et plusieurs autres, traiter, qui seroient peut-être assez agréables; mais sur lesquels par conséquent je ne pourrois être aussi je chasse tout cela de ma tête, comme mauvais train. utile que je le désirerois. "Enfin une place aussi La géométrie est ma femme, et je me suis remis en brillante que celle dont le roi veut m'honorer. oblige ménage. à une sorte de représentation tout-à-fait éloignée “Avec cela, j'ai plus d'argent devant moi que du train de vie que j'ai pris jusqu'ici ; elle engage je n'en puis dépenser. Ma foi, on est bien fou de à un grand nombre de devoirs : et les devoirs sont se tant tourmenter pour des choses qui ne rendent les entraves d'un homme libre."'-Vol. ii. pp.73–78. pas plus heureux: on a bien plutôt fait de dire: Ne This whole transaction was kept quite se dont j'use depuis long-temps."— Vol. ii. pp. 52, 53.
pourrois-je pas me passer de cela ? Et c'est la recette cret for many months; and, when it began to take air, he speaks of it to Madame du Def
With all this softness and carelessness of fand, in the following natural manner.
character, nothing could be more firm and " Après tout, que cela se répande ou ne se ré. inflexible
' when truth and justice were in pande pas, je n'en suis ni faché ni bien-aise. Je question. The President Herault was the garderai au roi de Prusse son secret, même lorsqu'il oldest and first favourite of Madame du Defne l'exige plus, et vous verrez aisément que mes fand; and, at the time of publishing the Enlettres n'ont pas été faites pour être vues du minis. cyclopædia, Madame du Deffand had more ière de France ; je suis bien résolu de ne lui pas power over D'Alembert than any other person. Congo; et je me contenterai que la postérité lise She wished very much that something flattersur mon tombeau ; il fut estimé des honnêtes gens, ing should be said of her favourite in the Inet est mort pouvre, parce qu'il l'abien voulu. Voilà, troductory Discourse, which took a review of madame, de quelle manière je pense. Je ne veux the progress of the arts and sciences; but braver ni aussi flatter les gens qui m'ont fait du mal, D'Alembert resisted, with heroic courage, all ou qui sont dans la disposition de m'en faire ; mais je the entreaties that were addressed to him on me conduirai de manière que je les réduirai seule. ment à ne me pas faire du bien."-Vol. ii. pp. 33, 34, this subject. The following may serve as
specimens of the tone which he maintained Upon publishing his Melanges, he was
on the occasion. furiously attacked by a variety of acrimonious writers; and all his revenge was to retire to
" Je suis devenu cent fois plus amoureux de la his geometry, and to write such letters as the retraite et de la solitude. que ne l'élois quand following to Madame du Deffand.
vous avez quillé Paris. Je dîne et soupe chez moi
tous les jours, ou presque tous les jours, el je me “ Me voilà claquemuré pour long-temps, et vrai. trouve très bien de cetie manière de vivre. Je vous semblablement pour toujours, dans ma triste, mais verrai donc quand vous n'aurez personne, et aux très-chere et très-paisible Géométrie! Je suis fort | heures où je pourrai espérer de vous trouver seule: content de trouver un prétexte pour ne plus rien dans d'autres temps, j'y rencontrerois votre présifaire, dans le déchaînement que mon livre a exciié dent, qui m'embarrasseroit, parce qu'il croiroit avoir contre moi. Je n'ai pourtani ni attaqué personne, des reproches á me faire, que je ne crois point en ni même désigné qui que ce soit, plus que n'a fait mériter, et que je ne veux pas être dans le cas de le l'auteur du Méchant, et vingt autres, contre lesquels désobliger, en me justifiant auprès de lui. Ce que personne ne s'est déchaîné. Mais il n'y a qu'heur vous me demandez pour lui est impossible, et je et malheur. Je n'ai besoin ni de l'amitié de sous puis vous assurer qu'il est bien impossible, puisque ces gens-là. puisque assurément je ne veux rien je ne fais pas cela pour vous. En premier lieu, le leur demander, ni de leur estime, puisque j'ai bien Discours préliminaire est imprimé, il y a plus de six résolu de ne jamais vivre avec eux: aussi je les meis semaines: ainsi je ne pourrois pas l'y fourrer au; à pis faire.
jourd'hui, même quand je le voudrois. En second “Adieu, Madame; hâlez votre retour. Que ne lieni, pensez-vous de bonne foi, madame, que dans savez-vous de la géométrie! qu'avec elle on se un ouvrage destiné à célébrer les grands génies de passe de bien des choses !"- Vol. i. pp. 104, 105. la nation et les ouvrages qui ont véritablement con
" Mon ouvrage est publié ; il s'est un peu vendu; 1 tribué aux progrès des lettres et des sciences, je les frais de l'impression sont retirés ; les éloges, doive parler de l'Abrégé chronologique ?
C'est les critiques et l'argent viendront quand ils vou- un ouvrage uile, j'en conviens, et assez commode; dront."-"Je n'ai encore rien touché. Je vous man. mais voilà tout en vérité: c'est là ce que les gens