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The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Complete by Jean Jacques Rousseau

Part 3 out of 13

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with elegance. She had been brought up with polite company, and coming
young to Savoy, by associating with people of the best fashion, had lost
the affected manners of her own country, where the ladies mistake wit for
sense, and only speak in epigram.

Though she had seen the court but superficially, that glance was
sufficient to give her a competent idea of it; and notwithstanding secret
jealousies and the murmurs excited by her conduct and running in debt,
she ever preserved friends there, and never lost her pension. She knew
the world, and was useful. This was her favorite theme in our
conversations, and was directly opposite to my chimerical ideas, though
the kind of instruction I particularly had occasion for. We read Bruyere
together; he pleased her more than Rochefoucault, who is a dull,
melancholy author, particularly to youth, who are not fond of
contemplating man as he really is. In moralizing she sometimes
bewildered herself by the length of her discourse; but by kissing her
lips or hand from time to time I was easily consoled, and never found
them wearisome.

This life was too delightful to be lasting; I felt this, and the
uneasiness that thought gave me was the only thing that disturbed my
enjoyment. Even in playfulness she studied my disposition, observed and
interrogated me, forming projects for my future fortune, which I could
readily have dispensed with. Happily it was not sufficient to know my
disposition, inclinations and talents; it was likewise necessary to find
a situation in which they would be useful, and this was not the work of a
day. Even the prejudices this good woman had conceived in favor of my
merit put off the time of calling it into action, by rendering her more
difficult in the choice of means; thus (thanks to the good opinion she
entertained of me), everything answered to my wish; but a change soon
happened which put a period to my tranquility.

A relation of Madam de Warrens, named M. d'Aubonne, came to see her; a
man of great understanding and intrigue, being, like her, fond of
projects, though careful not to ruin himself by them. He had offered
Cardinal Fleury a very compact plan for a lottery, which, however, had
not been approved of, and he was now going to propose it to the court of
Turin, where it was accepted and put into execution. He remained some
time at Annecy, where he fell in love with the Intendant's lady, who was
very amiable, much to my taste and the only person I saw with pleasure at
the house of Madam de Warrens. M. d'Aubonne saw me, I was strongly
recommended by his relation; he promised, therefore, to question and see
what I was fit for, and, if he found me capable to seek me a situation.
Madam de Warrens sent me to him two or three mornings, under pretense of
messages, without acquainting me with her real intention. He spoke to me
gayly, on various subjects, without any appearance of observation; his
familiarity presently set me talking, which by his cheerful and jesting
manner he encouraged without restraint--I was absolutely charmed with
him. The result of his observations was, that notwithstanding the
animation of my countenance, and promising exterior, if not absolutely
silly, I was a lad of very little sense, and without ideas of learning;
in fine, very ignorant in all respects, and if I could arrive at being
curate of some village, it was the utmost honor I ought ever to aspire
to. Such was the account he gave of me to Madam de Warrens. This was
not the first time such an opinion had been formed of me, neither was it
the last; the judgment of M. Masseron having been repeatedly confirmed.

The cause of these opinions is too much connected with my character not
to need a particular explanation; for it will not be supposed that I can
in conscience subscribe to them; and with all possible impartiality,
whatever M. Masseron, M. d'Aubonne and many others may have said, I
cannot help thinking them mistaken.

Two things very opposite, unite in me, and in a manner which I cannot
myself conceive. My disposition is extremely ardent, my passions lively
and impetuous, yet my ideas are produced slowly, with great embarrassment
and after much afterthought. It might be said my heart and understanding
do not belong to the same individual. A sentiment takes possession of my
soul with the rapidity of lightning, but instead of illuminating, it
dazzles and confounds me; I feel all, but see nothing; I am warm, but
stupid; to think I must be cool. What is astonishing, my conception is
clear and penetrating, if not hurried: I can make excellent impromptus at
leisure, but on the instant, could never say or do anything worth notice.
I could hold a tolerable conversation by the post, as they say the
Spaniards play at chess, and when I read that anecdote of a duke of
Savoy, who turned himself round, while on a journey, to cry out 'a votre
gorge, marchand de Paris!' I said, "Here is a trait of my character!"

This slowness of thought, joined to vivacity of feeling, I am not only
sensible of in conversation, but even alone. When I write, my ideas are
arranged with the utmost difficulty. They glance on my imagination and
ferment till they discompose, heat, and bring on a palpitation; during
this state of agitation, I see nothing properly, cannot write a single
word, and must wait till it is over. Insensibly the agitation subsides,
the chaos acquires form, and each circumstance takes its proper place.
Have you never seen an opera in Italy? where during the change of scene
everything is in confusion, the decorations are intermingled, and any one
would suppose that all would be overthrown; yet by little and little,
everything is arranged, nothing appears wanting, and we feel surprised to
see the tumult succeeded by the most delightful spectacle. This is a
resemblance of what passes in my brain when I attempt to write; had I
always waited till that confusion was past, and then pointed, in their
natural beauties, the objects that had presented themselves, few authors
would have surpassed me.

Thence arises the extreme difficulty I find in writing; my manuscripts,
blotted, scratched, and scarcely legible, attest the trouble they cost
me; nor is there one of them but I have been obliged to transcribe four
or five times before it went to press. Never could I do anything when
placed at a table, pen in hand; it must be walking among the rocks, or in
the woods; it is at night in my bed, during my wakeful hours, that I
compose; it may be judged how slowly, particularly for a man who has not
the advantage of verbal memory, and never in his life could retain by
heart six verses. Some of my periods I have turned and returned in my
head five or six nights before they were fit to be put to paper: thus it
is that I succeed better in works that require laborious attention, than
those that appear more trivial, such as letters, in which I could never
succeed, and being obliged to write one is to me a serious punishment;
nor can I express my thoughts on the most trivial subjects without it
costing me hours of fatigue. If I write immediately what strikes me, my
letter is a long, confused, unconnected string of expressions, which,
when read, can hardly be understood.

It is not only painful to me to give language to my ideas but even to
receive them. I have studied mankind, and think myself a tolerable
observer, yet I know nothing from what I see, but all from what I
remember, nor have I understanding except in my recollections. From all
that is said, from all that passes in my presence, I feel nothing,
conceive nothing, the exterior sign being all that strikes me; afterwards
it returns to my remembrance; I recollect the place, the time, the
manner, the look, and gesture, not a circumstance escapes me; it is then,
from what has been done or said, that I imagine what has been thought,
and I have rarely found myself mistaken.

So little master of my understanding when alone, let any one judge what I
must be in conversation, where to speak with any degree of ease you must
think of a thousand things at the same time: the bare idea that I should
forget something material would be sufficient to intimidate me. Nor can
I comprehend how people can have the confidence to converse in large
companies, where each word must pass in review before so many, and where
it would be requisite to know their several characters and histories to
avoid saying what might give offence. In this particular, those who
frequent the world would have a great advantage, as they know better
where to be silent, and can speak with greater confidence; yet even they
sometimes let fall absurdities; in what predicament then must he be who
drops as it were from the clouds? it is almost impossible he should speak
ten minutes with impunity.

In a tete-a-tete there is a still worse inconvenience; that is; the
necessity of talking perpetually, at least, the necessity of answering
when spoken to, and keeping up the conversation when the other is silent.
This insupportable constraint is alone sufficient to disgust me with
variety, for I cannot form an idea of a greater torment than being
obliged to speak continually without time for recollection. I know not
whether it proceeds from my mortal hatred of all constraint; but if I am
obliged to speak, I infallibly talk nonsense. What is still worse,
instead of learning how to be silent when I have absolutely nothing to
say, it is generally at such times that I have a violent inclination: and
endeavoring to pay my debt of conversation as speedily as possible, I
hastily gabble a number of words without ideas, happy when they only
chance to mean nothing; thus endeavoring to conquer or hide my
incapacity, I rarely fail to show it.

I think I have said enough to show that, though not a fool, I have
frequently passed for one, even among people capable of judging; this was
the more vexatious, as my physiognomy and eyes promised otherwise, and
expectation being frustrated, my stupidity appeared the more shocking.
This detail, which a particular occasion gave birth to, will not be
useless in the sequel, being a key to many of my actions which might
otherwise appear unaccountable; and have been attributed to a savage
humor I do not possess. I love society as much as any man, was I not
certain to exhibit myself in it, not only disadvantageously, but totally
different from what I really am. The plan I have adopted of writing and
retirement, is what exactly suits me. Had I been present, my worth would
never have been known, no one would even have suspected it; thus it was
with Madam Dupin, a woman of sense, in whose house I lived for several
years; indeed, she has often since owned it to me: though on the whole
this rule may be subject to some exceptions. I shall now return to my

The estimate of my talents thus fixed, the situation I was capable of
promised, the question only remained how to render her capable of
fulfilling my destined vocation. The principle difficulty was, I did not
know Latin enough for a priest. Madam de Warrens determined to have me
taught for some time at the seminary, and accordingly spoke of it to the
Superior, who was a Lazarist, called M. Gras, a good-natured little
fellow, half blind, meagre, gray-haired, insensible, and the least
pedantic of any Lazarist I ever knew; which, in fact, is saying no great

He frequently visited Madam de Warrens, who entertained, caressed, and
made much of him, letting him sometimes lace her stays, an office he was
willing enough to perform. While thus employed, she would run about the
room, this way or that, as occasion happened to call her. Drawn by the
lace, Monsieur the Superior followed, grumbling, repeating at every
moment, "Pray, madam, do stand still;" the whole forming a scene truly

M. Gras willingly assented to the project of Madam de Warrens, and, for a
very moderate pension, charged himself with the care of instructing me.
The consent of the bishop was all that remained necessary, who not only
granted it, but offered to pay the pension, permitting me to retain the
secular habit till they could judge by a trial what success they might
have in my improvement.

What a change! but I was obliged to submit; though I went to the seminary
with about the same spirits as if they had been taking me to execution.
What a melancholy abode! especially for one who left the house of a
pretty woman. I carried one book with me, that I had borrowed of Madam
de Warrens, and found it a capital resource! it will not be easily
conjectured what kind of book this was--it was a music book. Among the
talents she had cultivated, music was not forgotten; she had a tolerable
good voice, sang agreeably, and played on the harpsichord. She had taken
the pains to give me some lessons in singing, though before I was very
uninformed in that respect, hardly knowing the music of our psalms.
Eight or ten interrupted lessons, far from putting me in a condition to
improve myself, did not teach me half the notes; notwithstanding, I had
such a passion for the art, that I determined to exercise myself alone.
The book I took was not of the most easy kind; it was the cantatas of
Clerambault. It may be conceived with what attention and perseverance I
studied, when I inform my reader, that without knowing anything of
transposition or quantity, I contrived to sing with tolerable
correctness, the first recitative and air in the cantata of Alpheus and
Arethusa; it is true this air is, so justly set, that it is only
necessary to recite the verses in their just measure to catch the music.

There was at the seminary a curst Lazarist, who by undertaking to teach
me Latin made me detest it. His hair was coarse, black and greasy, his
face like those formed in gingerbread, he had the voice of a buffalo, the
countenance of an owl, and the bristles of a boar in lieu of a beard; his
smile was sardonic, and his limbs played like those of a puppet moved by
wires. I have forgotten his odious name, but the remembrance of his
frightful precise countenance remains with me, though hardly can I
recollect it without trembling; especially when I call to mind our
meeting in the gallery, when he graciously advanced his filthy square cap
as a sign for me to enter his apartment, which appeared more dismal in my
apprehension than a dungeon. Let any one judge the contrast between my
present master and the elegant Abbe de Gauvon.

Had I remained two months at the mercy of this monster, I am certain my
head could not have sustained it; but the good M. Gras, perceiving I was
melancholy, grew thin, and did not eat my victuals, guessed the cause of
my uneasiness (which indeed was not very difficult) and taking me from
the claws of this beast, by another yet more striking contrast, placed me
with the gentlest of men, a young Faucigneran abbe, named M. Gatier,
who studied at the seminary, and out of complaisance for M. Gras, and
humanity to myself, spared some time from the prosecution of his own
studies in order to direct mine. Never did I see a more pleasing
countenance than that of M. Gatier. He was fair complexioned, his beard
rather inclined to red; his behavior like that of the generality of his
countrymen (who under a coarseness of countenance conceal much
understanding), marked in him a truly sensible and affectionate soul.
In his large blue eyes there was a mixture of softness, tenderness, and
melancholy, which made it impossible to see him without feeling one's
self interested. From the looks and manner of this young abbe he might
have been supposed to have foreseen his destiny, and that he was born to
be unhappy.

His disposition did not belie his physiognomy: full of patience and
complaisance, he rather appeared to study with than to instruct me.
So much was not necessary to make me love him, his predecessor having
rendered that very easy; yet, notwithstanding all the time he bestowed on
me, notwithstanding our mutual good inclinations, and that his plan of
teaching was excellent, with much labor, I made little progress. It is
very singular, that with a clear conception I could never learn much from
masters except my father and M. Lambercier; the little I know besides I
have learned alone, as will be seen hereafter. My spirit, impatient of
every species of constraint, cannot submit to the law of the moment; even
the fear of not learning prevents my being attentive, and a dread of
wearying those who teach, makes me feign to understand them; thus they
proceed faster than I can comprehend, and the conclusion is I learn
nothing. My understanding must take its own time and cannot submit to
that of another.

The time of ordination being arrived, M. Gatier returned to his province
as deacon, leaving me with gratitude, attachment, and sorrow for his
loss. The vows I made for him were no more answered than those I offered
for myself. Some years after, I learned, that being vicar of a parish,
a young girl was with child by him, being the only one (though he
possessed a very tender heart) with whom he was ever in love. This was a
dreadful scandal in a diocese severely governed, where the priests (being
under good regulation) ought never to have children--except by married
women. Having infringed this politic law, he was put in prison, defamed,
and driven from his benefice. I know not whether it was ever after in
his power to reestablish his affairs; but the remembrance of his
misfortunes, which were deeply engraven on my heart, struck me when I
wrote Emilius, and uniting M. Gatier with M. Gaime, I formed from these
two worthy priests the character of the Savoyard Vicar, and flatter
myself the imitation has not dishonored the originals.

While I was at the seminary, M. d'Aubonne was obliged to quit Annecy,
Moultou being displeased that he made love to his wife, which was acting
like a dog in the manger, for though Madam Moultou was extremely amiable,
he lived very ill with her, treating her with such brutality that a
separation was talked of. Moultou, by repeated oppressions, at length
procured a dismissal from his employment: he was a disagreeable man; a
mole could not be blacker, nor an owl more knavish. It is said the
provincials revenge themselves on their enemies by songs; M. d'Aubonne
revenged himself on his by a comedy, which he sent to Madam de Warrens,
who showed it to me. I was pleased with it, and immediately conceived
the idea of writing one, to try whether I was so silly as the author had
pronounced me. This project was not executed till I went to Chambery,
where I wrote 'The Lover of Himself'. Thus when I said in the preface to
that piece, "it was written at eighteen," I cut off a few years.

Nearly about this time an event happened, not very important in itself,
but whose consequence affected me, and made a noise in the world when I
had forgotten it. Once a week I was permitted to go out; it is not
necessary to say what use I made of this liberty. Being one Sunday at
Madam de Warrens, a building belonging to the Cordeliers, which joined
her house, took fire; this building which contained their oven, being
full of dry fagots, blazed violently and greatly endangered the house;
for the wind happening to drive the flames that way, it was covered with
them. The furniture, therefore, was hastily got out and carried into the
garden which fronted the windows, on the other side the before-mentioned
brook. I was so alarmed that I threw indiscriminately everything that
came to hand out of the window, even to a large stone mortar, which at
another time I should have found it difficult to remove, and should have
thrown a handsome looking-glass after it had not some one prevented me.
The good bishop, who that day was visiting Madam de Warrens, did not
remain idle; he took her into the garden, where they went to prayers with
the rest that were assembled there, and where sometime afterwards,
I found them on their knees, and presently joined them. While the good
man was at his devotions, the wind changed, so suddenly and critically,
that the flames which had covered the house and began to enter the
windows, were carried to the other side of the court, and the house
received no damage. Two years after, Monsieur de Berner being dead, the
Antoines, his former brethren, began to collect anecdotes which might
serve as arguments of his beatification; at the desire of Father Baudet,
I joined to these an attestation of what I have just related, in doing
which, though I attested no more than the truth, I certainly acted ill,
as it tended to make an indifferent occurrence pass for a miracle. I had
seen the bishop in prayer, and had likewise seen the wind change during
the prayer, and even much to the purpose, all this I could certify truly;
but that one of these facts was the cause of the other, I ought not to
have attested, because it is what I could not possibly be assured of.
Thus much I may say, that as far as I can recollect what my ideas were at
that time, I was sincerely, and in good earnest a Catholic. Love of the
marvellous is natural to the human heart; my veneration for the virtuous
prelate, and secret pride in having, perhaps, contributed to the event in
question, all helped to seduce me; and certainly, if this miracle was the
effect of ardent prayer, I had a right to claim a share of the merits.

More than thirty years after, when I published the 'Lettres de la
Montagne', M. Feron (I know not by what means) discovered this
attestation, and made use of it in his paper. I must confess the
discovery was very critically timed, and appeared very diverting,
even to me.

I was destined to be the outcast of every condition; for notwithstanding
M. Gatier gave the most favorable account he possibly could of my
studies, they plainly saw the improvement I received bore no proportion
to the pains taken to instruct me, which was no encouragement to continue
them: the bishop and superior, therefore, were disheartened, and I was
sent back to Madam de Warrens, as a subject not even fit to make a priest
of; but as they allowed, at the same time, that I was a tolerably good
lad, and far from being vicious, this account counterbalanced the former,
and determined her not to abandon me.

I carried back in triumph the dear music book, which had been so useful
to me, the air of Alpheus and Arethusa being almost all I had learned at
the seminary. My predilection for this art started the idea of making a
musician of, me. A convenient opportunity offered; once a week, at
least, she had a concert at her house, and the music-master from the
cathedral, who directed this little band, came frequently to see her.
This was a Parisian, named M. le Maitre, a good composer, very lively,
gay, young, well made, of little understanding, but, upon the whole, a
good sort of man. Madam de Warrens made us acquainted; I attached myself
to him, and he seemed not displeased with me. A pension was talked of,
and agreed on; in short, I went home with him, and passed the winter the
more agreeably at his chambers, as they were not above twenty paces
distant from Madam de Warrens', where we frequently supped together.
It may easily be supposed that this situation, ever gay, and singing with
the musicians and children of the choir, was more pleasing to me than the
seminary and fathers of St. Lazarus. This life, though free, was
regular; here I learned to prize independence, but never to abuse it.
For six whole months I never once went out except to see Madam de
Warrens, or to church, nor had I any inclination to it. This interval is
one of those in which I enjoyed the greatest satisfaction, and which I
have ever recollected with pleasure. Among the various situations I have
been placed in, some were marked with such an idea of virtuous
satisfaction, that the bare remembrance affects me as if they were yet
present. I vividly recollect the time, the place, the persons, and even
the temperature of the air, while the lively idea of a certain local
impression peculiar to those times, transports me back again to the very
spot; for example, all that was repeated at our meetings, all that was
sung in the choir, everything that passed there; the beautiful and noble
habits of the canons, the chasubles of the priests, the mitres of the
singers, the persons of the musicians; an old lame carpenter who played
the counter-bass, a little fair abbe who performed on the violin, the
ragged cassock which M. le Maitre, after taking off his sword, used to
put over his secular habit, and the fine surplice with which he covered
the rags of the former, when he went to the choir; the pride with which I
held my little flute to my lips, and seated myself in the orchestra, to
assist in a recitative which M. le Maitre had composed on purpose for me;
the good dinner that afterwards awaited us, and the good appetites we
carried to it. This concourse of objects, strongly retraced in my
memory, has charmed me a hundred time as much, or perhaps more, than ever
the reality had done. I have always preserved an affection for a certain
air of the 'Conditor alme Syderum', because one Sunday in Advent I heard
that hymn sung on the steps of the cathedral, (according to the custom of
that place) as I lay in bed before daybreak. Mademoiselle Merceret,
Madam de Warrens' chambermaid, knew something of music; I shall never
forget a little piece that M. le Maitre made me sing with her, and which
her mistress listened to with great satisfaction. In a word, every
particular, even down to the servant Perrine, whom the boys of the choir
took such delight in teasing. The remembrance of these times of
happiness and innocence frequently returning to my mind, both ravish and
affect me.

I lived at Annecy during a year without the least reproach, giving
universal satisfaction. Since my departure from Turin I had been guilty
of no folly, committed none while under the eye of Madam de Warrens.
She was my conductor, and ever led me right; my attachment for her became
my only passion, and what proves it was not a giddy one, my heart and
understanding were in unison. It is true that a single sentiment,
absorbing all my faculties, put me out of a capacity of learning even
music: but this was not my fault, since to the strongest inclination,
I added the utmost assiduity. I was attentive and thoughtful; what could
I do? Nothing was wanting towards my progress that depended on me;
meantime, it only required a subject that might inspire me to occasion
the commission of new follies: that subject presented itself, chance
arranged it, and (as will be seen hereafter) my inconsiderate head gave
in to it.

One evening, in the month of February, when it was very cold, being all
sat round the fire, we heard some one knock at the street door. Perrine
took a light, went down and opened it: a young man entering, came
upstairs, presented himself with an easy air, and making M. Maitre a
short, but well-turned compliment, announced himself as a French
musician, constrained by the state of his finances to take this liberty.
The hart of the good Le Maitre leaped at the name of a French musician,
for he passionately loved both his country and profession; he therefore
offered the young traveller his service--and use of his apartment, which
he appeared to stand much in need of, and which he accepted without much
ceremony. I observed him while he was chatting and warming himself
before supper; he was short and thick, having some fault in his shape,
though without any particular deformity; he had (if I may so express
myself) an appearance of being hunchbacked, with flat shoulders, and I
think he limped. He wore a black coat, rather worn than old, which hung
in tatters, a very fine but dirty shirt, frayed ruffles; a pair of
splatterdashes so large that he could have put both legs into either of
them, and, to secure himself from the snow, a little hat, only fit to be
carried under his arm. With this whimsical equipage, he had, however,
something elegant in his manners and conversation; his countenance was
expressive and agreeable, and he spoke with facility if not with modesty;
in short, everything about him bore the mark of a young debauchee, who
did not crave assistance like a beggar, but as a thoughtless madcap.
He told us his name was Venture de Villeneuve, that he came from Paris,
had lost his way, and seeming to forget that he had announced himself for
a musician, added that he was going to Grenoble to see a relation that
was a member of Parliament.

During supper we talked of music, on which subject he spoke well: he knew
all the great virtuosi, all the celebrated works, all the actors,
actresses, pretty women, and powerful lords; in short nothing was
mentioned but what he seemed thoroughly acquainted with. Though no
sooner was any topic started, than by some drollery, which set every one
a-laughing, he made them forget what had been said. This was on a
Saturday; the next day there was to be music at the cathedral: M. le
Maitre asked if he would sing there--"Very willingly."--"What part would
he chose?"--"The counter-tenor:" and immediately began speaking of other
things. Before he went to church they offered him his part to peruse,
but he did not even look at it. This Gasconade surprised Le Maitre
--"You'll see," said he, whispering to me, "that he does not know a single
note."--I replied: "I am very much afraid of him." I followed them into
the church; but was extremely uneasy, and when they began, my heart beat
violently, so much was I interested in his behalf.

I was presently out of pain: he sung his two recitatives with all
imaginable taste and judgment; and what was yet more, with a very
agreeable voice. I never enjoyed a more pleasing surprise. After mass,
M. Venture received the highest compliments from the canons and
musicians, which he answered jokingly, though with great grace. M. le
Maitre embraced him heartily; I did the same; he saw I was rejoiced at
his success, and appeared pleased at my satisfaction.

It will easily be surmised, that after having been delighted with M.
Bacle, who had little to attract my admiration, I should be infatuated
with M. Venture, who had education, wit, talents, and a knowledge of the
world, and might be called an agreeable rake. This was exactly what
happened, and would, I believe, have happened to any other young man in
my place; especially supposing him possessed of better judgment to
distinguish merit, and more propensity to be engaged by it; for Venture
doubtless possessed a considerable share, and one in particular, very
rare at his age, namely, that of never being in haste to display his
talents. It is true, he boasted of many things he did not understand,
but of those he knew (which were very numerous) he said nothing,
patiently waiting some occasion to display them, which he then did with
ease, though without forwardness, and thus gave them more effect.
As there was ever some intermission between the proofs of his various
abilities, it was impossible to conjecture whether he had ever discovered
all his talents. Playful, giddy, inexhaustible, seducing in
conversation, ever smiling, but never laughing, and repeating the rudest
things in the most elegant manner--even the most modest women were
astonished at what they endured from him: it was in vain for them to
determine to be angry; they could not assume the appearance of it.
It was extraordinary that with so many agreeable talents, in a country
where they are so well understood, and so much admired, he so long
remained only a musician.

My attachment to M. Venture, more reasonable in its cause, was also less
extravagant in its effects, though more lively and durable than that I
had conceived for M. Bacle. I loved to see him, to hear him, all his
actions appeared charming, everything he said was an oracle to me, but
the enchantment did not extend far enough to disable me from quitting
him. I spoke of him with transport to Madam de Warrens, Le Maitre
likewise spoke in his praise, and she consented we should bring him to
her house. This interview did not succeed; he thought her affected, she
found him a libertine, and, alarmed that I had formed such an ill
acquaintance, not only forbade me bringing him there again, but likewise
painted so strongly the danger I ran with this young man, that I became a
little more circumspect in giving in to the attachment; and very happily,
both for my manners and wits, we were soon separated.

M. le Maitre, like most of his profession, loved good wine; at table he
was moderate, but when busy in his closet he must drink. His maid was so
well acquainted with this humor that no sooner had he prepared his paper
to compose, and taken his violoncello, than the bottle and glass arrived,
and was replenished from time to time: thus, without being ever
absolutely intoxicated, he was usually in a state of elevation. This was
really unfortunate, for he had a good heart, and was so playful that
Madam de Warrens used to call him the kitten. Unhappily, he loved his
profession, labored much and drank proportionately, which injured his
health, and at length soured his temper. Sometimes he was gloomy and
easily offended, though incapable of rudeness, or giving offence to any
one, for never did he utter a harsh word, even to the boys of the choir:
on the other hand, he would not suffer another to offend him, which was
but just: the misfortune was, having little understanding, he did not
properly discriminate, and was often angry without cause.

The Chapter of Geneva, where so many princes and bishops formerly thought
it an honor to be seated, though in exile it lost its ancient splendor,
retained (without any diminution) its pride. To be admitted, you must
either be a gentleman or Doctor of Sorbonne. If there is a pardonable
pride, after that derived from personal merit, it is doubtless that
arising from birth, though, in general, priests having laymen in their
service treat them with sufficient haughtiness, and thus the canons
behaved to poor Le Maitre. The chanter, in particular, who was called
the Abbe de Vidonne, in other respects a well-behaved man, but too full
of his nobility, did not always show him the attention his talents
merited. M. le Maitre could not bear these indignities patiently;
and this year, during passion week, they had a more serious dispute than
ordinary. At an institution dinner that the bishop gave the canons, and
to which M. Maitre was always invited, the abbe failed in some formality,
adding, at the same time, some harsh words, which the other could not
digest; he instantly formed the resolution to quit them the following
night; nor could any consideration make him give up his design, though
Madam de Warrens (whom he went to take leave of) spared no pains to
appease him. He could not relinquish the pleasure of leaving his tyrants
embarrassed for the Easter feast, at which time he knew they stood in
greatest need of him. He was most concerned about his music, which he
wished to take with him; but this could not easily be accomplished, as it
filled a large case, and was very heavy, and could not be carried under
the arm.

Madam de Warrens did what I should have done in her situation; and
indeed, what I should yet do: after many useless efforts to retain him,
seeing he was resolved to depart, whatever might be the event, she formed
the resolution to give him every possible assistance. I must confess Le
Maitre deserved it of her, for he was (if I may use the expression)
dedicated to her service, in whatever appertained to either his art or
knowledge, and the readiness with which he obliged gave a double value to
his complaisance: thus she only paid back, on an essential occasion, the
many favors he had been long conferring on her; though I should observe,
she possessed a soul that, to fulfill such duties, had no occasion to be
reminded of previous obligations. Accordingly she ordered me to follow
Le Maitre to Lyons, and to continue with him as long as he might have
occasion for my services. She has since avowed, that a desire of
detaching me from Venture had a great hand in this arrangement. She
consulted Claude Anet about the conveyance of the above-mentioned case.
He advised, that instead of hiring a beast at Annecy, which would
infallibly discover us, it would be better, at night, to take it to some
neighboring village, and there hire an ass to carry it to Seyssel, which
being in the French dominions, we should have nothing to fear. This plan
was adopted; we departed the same night at seven, and Madam de Warrens,
under pretense of paying my expenses, increased the purse of poor Le
Maitre by an addition that was very acceptable. Claude Anet, the
gardiner, and myself, carried the case to the first village, then hired
an ass, and the same night reached Seyssel.

I think I have already remarked that there are times in which I am so
unlike myself that I might be taken for a man of a direct opposite
disposition; I shall now give an example of this. M. Reydelet, curate of
Seyssel, was canon of St. Peter's, consequently known to M. le Maitre,
and one of the people from whom he should have taken most pains to
conceal himself; my advice, on the contrary, was to present ourselves to
him, and, under some pretext, entreat entertainment as if we visited him
by consent of the chapter. Le Maitre adopted the idea, which seemed to
give his revenge the appearance of satire and waggery; in short, we went
boldly to Reydelet, who received us very kindly. Le Maitre told him he
was going to Bellay by desire of the bishop, that he might superintend
the music during the Easter holidays, and that he proposed returning that
way in a few days. To support this tale, I told a hundred others, so
naturally that M. Reydelet thought me a very agreeable youth, and treated
me with great friendship and civility. We were well regaled and well
lodged: M. Reydelet scarcely knew how to make enough of us; and we parted
the best friends in the world, with a promise to stop longer on our
return. We found it difficult to refrain from laughter, or wait till we
were alone to give free vent to our mirth: indeed, even now, the bare
recollection of it forces a smile, for never was waggery better or more
fortunately maintained. This would have made us merry during the
remainder of our journey, if M. le Maitre (who did not cease drinking)
had not been two or three times attacked with a complaint that he
afterwards became very subject to, and which resembled an epilepsy.
These fits threw me into the most fearful embarrassments, from which I
resolved to extricate myself with the first opportunity.

According to the information given to M. Reydelet, we passed our Easter
holidays at Bellay, and though not expected there, were received by the
music--master, and welcomed by every one with great pleasure. M. le
Maitre was of considerable note in his profession, and, indeed, merited
that distinction. The music-master of Bellay (who was fond of his own
works) endeavored to obtain the approbation of so good a judge; for
besides being a connoisseur, M. le Maitre was equitable, neither a
jealous, ill-natured critic, nor a servile flatterer. He was so superior
to the generality of country music-masters and they were so sensible of
it, that they treated him rather as their chief than a brother musician.

Having passed four or five days very agreeably at Bellay, we departed,
and continuing our journey without meeting with any accidents, except
those I have just spoken of, arrived at Lyons, and were lodged at Notre
Dame de Pitie. While we waited for the arrival of the before-mentioned
case (which by the assistance of another lie, and the care of our good
patron, M. Reydelet, we had embarked on the Rhone) M. le Maitre went to
visit his acquaintance, and among others Father Cato, a Cordelier, who
will be spoken of hereafter, and the Abbe Dortan, Count of Lyons, both of
whom received him well, but afterwards betrayed him, as will be seen
presently; indeed, his good fortune terminated with M. Reydelet.

Two days after our arrival at Lyons, as we passed a little street not far
from our inn, Le Maitre was attacked by one of his fits; but it was now
so violent as to give me the utmost alarm. I screamed with terror,
called for help, and naming our inn, entreated some one to bear him to
it, then (while the people were assembled, and busy round a man that had
fallen senseless in the street) he was abandoned by the only friend on
whom he could have any reasonable dependence; I seized the instant when
no one heeded me, turned the corner of the street and disappeared.
Thanks to Heaven, I have made my third painful confession; if many such
remained, I should certainly abandon the work I have undertaken.

Of all the incidents I have yet related, a few traces are remaining in
the places where I have lived; but what I have to relate in the following
book is almost entirely unknown; these are the greatest extravagancies of
my life, and it is happy they had not worse conclusions. My head, (if I
may use the simile) screwed up to the pitch of an instrument it did not
naturally accord with, had lost its diapason; in time it returned to it
again, when I discontinued my follies, or at least gave in to those more
consonant to my disposition. This epoch of my youth I am least able to
recollect, nothing having passed sufficiently interesting to influence my
heart, to make me clearly retrace the remembrance. In so many successive
changes, it is difficult not to make some transpositions of time or
place. I write absolutely from memory, without notes or materials to
help my recollection. Some events are as fresh in my idea as if they had
recently happened, but there are certain chasms which I cannot fill up
but by the aid of recital, as confused as the remaining traces of those
to which they refer. It is possible, therefore, that I may have erred in
trifles, and perhaps shall again, but in every matter of importance I can
answer that the account is faithfully exact, and with the same veracity
the reader may depend I shall be careful to continue it.

My resolution was soon taken after quitting Le Maitre; I set out
immediately for Annecy. The cause and mystery of our departure had
interested me for the security of our retreat: this interest, which
entirely employed my thoughts for some days, had banished every other
idea; but no sooner was I secure and in tranquility, than my predominant
sentiment regained its place. Nothing flattered, nothing tempted me, I
had no wish but to return to Madam de Warrens; the tenderness and truth
of my attachment to her had rooted from my heart every imaginable
project, and all the follies of ambition, I conceived no happiness but
living near her, nor could I take a step without feeling that the
distance between us was increased. I returned, therefore, as soon as
possible, with such speed, and with my spirits in such a state of
agitation, that though I recall with pleasure all my other travels, I
have not the least recollection of this, only remembering my leaving
Lyons and reaching Annecy. Let anyone judge whether this last event can
have slipped my memory, when informed that on my arrival I found Madam de
Warrens was not there, having set out for Paris.

I was never well informed of the motives of this journey. I am certain
she would have told me had I asked her, but never was man less curious to
learn the secrets of his friend. My heart is ever so entirely filled
with the present, or with past pleasures, which become a principal part
of my enjoyment, that there is not a chink or corner for curiosity to
enter. All that I conceive from what I heard of it, is, that in the
revolution caused at Turin by the abdication of the King of Sardinia,
she feared being forgotten, and was willing by favor of the intrigues of
M. d' Aubonne to seek the same advantage in the court of France, where
she has often told me she should, have preferred it, as the multiplicity
of business there prevents your conduct from being so closely inspected.
If this was her business, it is astonishing that on her return she was
not ill received; be that as it will, she continued to enjoy her
allowance without any interruption. Many people imagined she was charged
with some secret commission, either by the bishop, who then had business
at the court of France, where he himself was soon after obliged to go,
or some one yet more powerful, who knew how to insure her a gracious
reception at her return. If this was the case, it is certain the
ambassadress was not ill chosen, since being young and handsome, she had
all the necessary qualifications to succeed in a negotiation.

(In 12 books)

Privately Printed for the Members of the Aldus Society

London, 1903


Let any one judge my surprise and grief at not finding her on my arrival.
I now felt regret at having abandoned M. le Maitre, and my uneasiness
increased when I learned the misfortunes that had befallen him. His box
of music, containing all his fortune, that precious box, preserved with
so much care and fatigue, had been seized on at Lyons by means of Count
Dortan, who had received information from the Chapter of our having
absconded with it. In vain did Le Maitre reclaim his property, his means
of existence, the labor of his life; his right to the music in question
was at least subject to litigation, but even that liberty was not allowed
him, the affair being instantly decided on the principal of superior
strength. Thus poor Le Maitre lost the fruit of his talents, the labor
of his youth, and principal dependence for the support of old age.

Nothing was wanting to render the news I had received truly afflicting,
but I was at an age when even the greatest calamities are to be
sustained; accordingly I soon found consolation. I expected shortly
to hear news of Madam de Warrens, though I was ignorant of the address,
and she knew nothing of my return. As to my desertion of Le Maitre (all
things considered) I did not find it so very culpable. I had been
serviceable to him at his retreat; it was not in my power to give him any
further assistance. Had I remained with him in France it would not have
cured his complaint. I could not have saved his music, and should only
have doubled his expense: in this point of view I then saw my conduct;
I see it otherwise now. It frequently happens that a villainous action
does not torment us at the instant we commit it, but on recollection, and
sometimes even after a number of years have elapsed, for the remembrance
of crimes is not to be extinguished.

The only means I had to obtain news of Madam de Warrens was to remain at
Annecy. Where should I seek her in Paris? or how bear the expense of
such a journey? Sooner or later there was no place where I could be so
certain to hear of her as that I was now at; this consideration
determined me to remain there, though my conduct was very indifferent.
I did not go to the bishop, who had already befriended me, and might
continue to do so; my patroness was not present, and I feared his
reprimands on the subject of our flight; neither did I go to the
seminary, M. Graswas no longer there; in short, I went to none of my
acquaintances. I should gladly have visited the intendant's lady, but
did not dare; I did worse, I sought out M. Venture, whom (notwithstanding
my enthusiasm) I had never thought of since my departure. I found him
quite gay, in high spirits, and the universal favorite of the ladies of

This success completed my infatuation; I saw nothing but M. Venture; he
almost made me forget even Madam de Warrens. That I might profit more at
ease by his instructions and example, I proposed to share his lodgings,
to which he readily consented. It was at a shoemaker's; a pleasant,
jovial fellow, who, in his county dialect, called his wife nothing but
trollop; an appellation which she certainly merited. Venture took care
to augment their differences, though under an appearance of doing the
direct contrary, throwing out in a distant manner, and provincial
accents, hints that produced the utmost effect, and furnished such scenes
as were sufficient to make any one die with laughter. Thus the mornings
passed without our thinking of them; at two or three o'clock we took some
refreshment. Venture then went to his various engagements, where he
supped, while I walked alone, meditating on his great merit, coveting and
admiring his rare talents, and cursing my own unlucky stars, that did not
call me to so happy a life. How little did I then know of myself! mine
had been a thousand times more delightful, had I not been such a fool, or
known better how to enjoy it.

Madam de Warrens had taken no one with her but Anet: Merceret, the
chambermaid, whom I have before mentioned, still remained in the house.
Merceret was something older than myself, not pretty, but tolerably
agreeable; good-natured, free from malice, having no fault to my
knowledge but being a little refractory with her mistress. I often went
to see her; she was an old acquaintance, who recalled to my remembrance
one more beloved, and this made her dear to me. She had several friends,
and among others one Mademoiselle Giraud, a Genevese, who, for the
punishment of my sins, took it in her head to have an inclination for me,
always pressing Merceret, when she returned her visits, to bring me with
her. As I liked Merceret, I felt no disinclination to accompany her;
besides I met there with some young people whose company pleased me.
For Mademoiselle Giraud, who offered every kind of enticement, nothing
could increase the aversion I had for her. When she drew near me, with
her dried black snout, smeared with Spanish snuff, it was with the utmost
difficulty that I could refrain from expressing my distaste; but, being
pleased with her visitors, I took patience. Among these were two girls
who (either to pay their court to Mademoiselle Giraud or myself) paid me
every possible attention. I conceived this to be only friendship; but
have since thought it depended only on myself to have discovered
something more, though I did not even think of it at the time.

There was another reason for my stupidity. Seamstresses, chambermaids,
or milliners, never tempted me; I sighed for ladies! Every one has his
peculiar taste, this has ever been mine; being in this particular of a
different opinion from Horace. Yet it is not vanity of riches or rank
that attracts me; it is a well-preserved complexion, fine hands, elegance
of ornaments, an air of delicacy and neatness throughout the whole
person; more in taste, in the manner of expressing themselves, a finer or
better made gown, a well-turned ankle, small foot, ribbons, lace, and
well-dressed hair; I even prefer those who have less natural beauty,
provided they are elegantly decorated. I freely confess this preference
is very ridiculous; yet my heart gives in to it spite of my
understanding. Well, even this advantage presented itself, and it only
depended on my own resolution to have seized the opportunity.

How do I love, from time to time, to return to those moments of my youth,
which were so charmingly delightful; so short, so scarce, and enjoyed at
so cheap a rate!--how fondly do I wish to dwell on them! Even yet the
remembrance of these scenes warms my heart with a chaste rapture, which
appears necessary to reanimate my drooping courage, and enable me to
sustain the weariness of my latter days.

The appearance of Aurora seemed so delightful one morning that, putting
on my clothes, I hastened into the country, to see the rising of the sun.
I enjoyed that pleasure in its utmost extent; it was one week after
midsummer; the earth was covered with verdure and flowers, the
nightingales, whose soft warblings were almost concluded, seemed to vie
with each other, and in concert with birds of various kinds to bid adieu
to spring, and hail the approach of a beautiful summer's day: one of
those lovely days that are no longer to be enjoyed at my age, and which
have never been seen on the melancholy soil I now inhabit.

I had rambled insensibly, to a considerable distance from the town--the
heat augmented--I was walking in the shade along a valley, by the side of
a brook, I heard behind me the steps of horses, and the voice of some
females who, though they seemed embarrassed, did not laugh the less
heartily on that account. I turn round, hear myself called by name, and
approaching, find two young people of my acquaintance, Mademoiselle de
G---- and Mademoiselle Galley, who, not being very excellent horsewomen,
could not make their horses cross the rivulet.

Mademoiselle de G---- was a young lady of Berne, very amiable; who,
having been sent from that country for some youthful folly, had imitated
Madam de Warrens, at whose house I had sometimes seen her; but not
having, like her, a pension, she had been fortunate in this attachment to
Mademoiselle Galley, who had prevailed on her mother to engage her young
friend as a companion, till she could be otherwise provided for.
Mademoiselle Galley was one year younger than her friend, handsomer,
more delicate, more ingenious, and to complete all, extremely well made.
They loved each other tenderly, and the good disposition of both could
not fail to render their union durable, if some lover did not derange it.
They informed me they were going to Toune, an old castle belonging to
Madam Galley, and implored my assistance to make their horses cross the
stream, not being able to compass it themselves. I would have given each
a cut or two with the whip, but they feared I might be kicked, and
themselves thrown; I therefore had recourse to another expedient, I took
hold of Mademoiselle Galley's horse and led him through the brook, the
water reaching half-way up my legs. The other followed without any
difficulty. This done, I would have paid my compliments to the ladies,
and walked off like a great booby as I was, but after whispering each
other, Mademoiselle de G---- said, "No, no, you must not think to escape
thus; you have got wet in our service, and we ought in conscience to take
care and dry you. If you please you must go with us, you are now our
prisoner." My heart began to beat--I looked at Mademoiselle Galley
--"Yes, yes," added she, laughing at my fearful look; "our prisoner of war;
come, get up behind her, we shall give a good account of you."--"But,
mademoiselle," continued I, "I have not the honor to be acquainted with
your mother; what will she say on my arrival?"--"Her mother," replied
Mademoiselle de G---- is not at Toune, we are alone, we shall return at
night, and you shall come back with us."

The stroke of electricity has not a more instantaneous effect than these
words produced on me. Leaping behind Mademoiselle de G----, I trembled
with joy, and when it became necessary to clasp her in order to hold
myself on, my heart beat so violently that she perceived it, and told me
hers beat also from a fear of falling. In my present posture, I might
naturally have considered this an invitation to satisfy myself of the
truth of her assertion, yet I did not dare, and during the whole way my
arm served as a girdle (a very close one, I must confess), without being
a moment displaced. Some women that may read this would be for giving me
a box on the ear, and, truly, I deserved it.

The gayety of the journey, and the chat of these girls, so enlivened me,
that during the whole time we passed together we never ceased talking a
moment. They had set me so thoroughly at ease, that my tongue spoke as
fast as my eyes, though not exactly the same things. Some minutes,
indeed, when I was left alone with either, the conversation became a
little embarrassed, but neither of them was absent long enough to allow
time for explaining the cause.

Arrived at Toune, and myself well dried, we breakfasted together; after
which it was necessary to settle the important business of preparing
dinner. The young ladies cooked, kissing from time to time the farmer's
children, while the poor scullion looked on grumbling. Provisions had
been sent for from town, and there was everything necessary for a good
dinner, but unhappily they had forgotten wine; this forgetfulness was by
no means astonishing to girls who seldom drank any, but I was sorry for
the omission, as I had reckoned on its help, thinking it might add to my
confidence. They were sorry likewise, and perhaps from the same motive;
though I have no reason to say this, for their lively and charming gayety
was innocence itself; besides, there were two of them, what could they
expect from me? they went everywhere about the neighborhood to seek for
wine, but none could be procured, so pure and sober are the peasants in
those parts. As they were expressing their concern, I begged them not to
give themselves any uneasiness on my account, for while with them I had
no occasion for wine to intoxicate me. This was the only gallantry I
ventured at during the whole of the day, and I believe the sly rogues saw
well enough that I said nothing but the truth.

We dined in the kitchen; the two friends were seated on the benches, one
on each side the long table, and their guest at the end, between them, on
a three--legged stool. What a dinner! how charming the remembrance!
While we can enjoy, at so small an expense, such pure, such true
delights, why should we be solicitous for others? Never did those
'petite soupes', so celebrated in Paris, equal this; I do not only say
for real pleasure and gayety, but even for sensuality.

After dinner, we were economical; instead of drinking the coffee we had
reserved at breakfast, we kept it for an afternoon collation, with cream,
and some cake they had brought with them. To keep our appetites in play,
we went into the orchard, meaning to finish our dessert with cherries.
I got into a tree, throwing them down bunches, from which they returned
the stones through the branches. One time, Mademoiselle Galley, holding
out her apron, and drawing back her head, stood so fair, and I took such
good aim, that I dropped a bunch into her bosom. On her laughing, I said
to myself, "Why are not my lips cherries? How gladly would I throw them
there likewise."

Thus the day passed with the greatest freedom, yet with the utmost
decency; not a single equivocal word, not one attempt at double-meaning
pleasantry; yet this delicacy was not affected, we only performed the
parts our hearts dictated; in short, my modesty, some will say my folly,
was such that the greatest familiarity that escaped me was once kissing
the hand of Mademoiselle Galley; it is true, the attending circumstances
helped to stamp a value on this trifling favor; we were alone, I was
embarrassed, her eyes were fixed on the ground, and my lips, instead of
uttering words, were pressed on her hand, which she drew gently back
after the salute, without any appearance of displeasure. I know not what
I should have said to her; but her friend entered, and at that moment I
thought her ugly.

At length, they bethought themselves, that they must return to town
before night; even now we had but just time to reach it by daylight;
and we hastened our departure in the same order we came. Had I pleased
myself, I should certainly have reversed this order, for the glance of
Mademoiselle Galley had reached my heart, but I dared not mention it,
and the proposal could not reasonably come from her. On the way, we
expressed our sorrow that the day was over, but far from complaining of
the shortness of its duration, we were conscious of having prolonged it
by every possible amusement.

I quitted them in nearly the same spot where I had taken them up. With
what regret did we part! With what pleasure did we form projects to
renew our meeting! Delightful hours, which we passed innocently
together, yet were worth ages of familiarity! The sweet remembrance of
those days cost those amiable girls nothing; the tender union which
reigned among us equalled more lively pleasures, with which it could not
have existed. We loved each other without shame or mystery, and wished
to continue our reciprocal affection. There is a species of enjoyment
connected with innocence of manners which is superior to any other,
because it has no interval; for myself, the remembrance of such a day
touches me nearer, delights me more, and returns with greater rapture to
my heart than any other pleasure I ever tasted. I hardly knew what I
wished with those charming girls. I do not say: that had the arrangement
been in my power, I should have divided my heart between them;
I certainly felt some degree of preference: though I should have been
happy to have had Mademoiselle de G----, for a mistress, I think,
by choice, I should have liked her, better as a confidante; be that as it
may, I felt on leaving them as though I could not live without either.
Who would have thought that I should never see them more; and that here
our ephemeral amours must end?

Those who read this will not fail to laugh at my gallantries, and remark,
that after very promising preliminaries, my most forward adventures
concluded by a kiss of the hand: yet be not mistaken, reader, in your
estimate of my enjoyments; I have, perhaps, tasted more real pleasure in
my amours, which concluded by a kiss of the hand, than you will ever have
in yours, which, at least, begin there.

Venture, who had gone to bed late the night before, came in soon after
me. I did not now see him with my usual satisfaction, and took care not
to inform him how I had passed the day. The ladies had spoken of him
slightingly, and appeared discontented at finding me in such bad hands;
this hurt him in my esteem; besides, whatever diverted my ideas from them
was at this time disagreeable. However, he soon brought me back to him
and myself, by speaking of the situation of my affairs, which was too
critical to last; for, though I spent very little, my slender finances
were almost exhausted. I was without resource; no news of Madam de
Warrens; not knowing what would become of me, and feeling a cruel pang at
heart to see the friend of Mademoiselle Galley reduced to beggary.

I now learned from Venture that he had spoken of me to the Judge Major,
and would take me next day to dine with him; that he was a man who by
means of his friends might render me essential service. In other
respects he was a desirable acquaintance, being a man of wit and letters,
of agreeable conversation, one who possessed talents and loved them in
others. After this discourse (mingling the most serious concerns with
the most trifling frivolity) he showed me a pretty couplet, which came
from Paris, on an air in one of Mouret's operas, which was then playing.
Monsieur Simon (the judge major) was so pleased with this couplet, that
he determined to make another in answer to it, on the same air. He had
desired Venture to write one, and he wished me to make a third, that, as
he expressed it, they might see couplets start up next day like incidents
in a comic romance.

In the night (not being able to sleep) I composed a couplet, as my first
essay in poetry. It was passable; better, or at least composed with more
taste than it would have been the preceding night, the subject being
tenderness, to which my heart was now entirely disposed. In the morning
I showed my performance to Venture, who, being pleased with the couplet,
put it in his pocket, without informing me whether he had made his. We
dined with M. Simon, who treated us very politely. The conversation was
agreeable; indeed it could not be otherwise between two men of natural
good sense, improved by reading. For me, I acted my proper part, which
was to listen without attempting to join in the conversation. Neither of
them mentioned the couplet nor do I know that it ever passed for mine.
M. Simon appeared satisfied with my behavior; indeed, it was almost all
he saw of me at this interview. We had often met at Madam de Warrens,
but he had never paid much attention to me; it is from this dinner,
therefore, that I date our acquaintance, which, though of no use in
regard to the object I then had in view, was afterwards productive of
advantages which make me recollect it with pleasure. I should be wrong
not to give some account of this person, since from his office of
magistrate, and the reputation of wit on which he piqued himself, no idea
could be formed of it. The judge major, Simon, certainly was not two feet
high; his legs spare, straight, and tolerably long, would have added
something to his stature had they been vertical, but they stood in the
direction of an open pair of compasses. His body was not only short, but
thin, being in every respect of most inconceivable smallness--when naked
he must have appeared like a grasshopper. His head was of the common
size, to which appertained a well-formed face, a noble look, and
tolerably fine eyes; in short, it appeared a borrowed head, stuck on a
miserable stump. He might very well have dispensed with dress, for his
large wig alone covered him from head to foot.

He had two voices, perfectly different, which intermingled perpetually in
his conversation, forming at first a diverting, but afterwards a very
disagreeable contrast. One grave and sonorous, was, if I may hazard the
expression, the voice of his head: the other, clear, sharp, and piercing,
the voice of his body. When he paid particular attention, and spoke
leisurely, so as to preserve his breath, he could continue his deep tone;
but if he was the least animated, or attempted a lively accent, his voice
sounded like the whistling of a key, and it was with the utmost
difficulty that he could return to the bass.

With the figure I have just described, and which is by no means
overcharged, M. Simon was gallant, ever entertaining the ladies with
soft tales, and carrying the decoration of his person even to foppery.
Willing to make use of every advantage he, during the morning, gave
audience in bed, for when a handsome head was discovered on the pillow no
one could have imagined what belonged to it. This circumstance gave
birth to scenes, which I am certain are yet remembered by all Annecy.

One morning, when he expected to give audience in bed, or rather on the
bed, having on a handsome night-cap ornamented with rose-colored ribbon,
a countryman arriving knocked at the door; the maid happened to be out;
the judge, therefore, hearing the knock repeated, cried "Come in," and,
as he spoke rather loud, it was in his shrill tone. The man entered,
looked about, endeavoring to discover whence the female voice proceeded
and at length seeing a handsome head-dress set off with ribbons, was
about to leave the room, making the supposed lady a hundred apologies.
M. Simon, in a rage, screamed the more; and the countryman, yet more
confirmed in his opinion, conceiving himself to be insulted, began
railing in his turn, saying that, "Apparently, she was nothing better
than a common streetwalker, and that the judge major should be ashamed of
setting such ill examples." The enraged magistrate, having no other
weapon than the jordan under his bed, was just going to throw it at the
poor fellow's head as his servant returned.

This dwarf, ill-used by nature as to his person, was recompensed by
possessing an understanding naturally agreeable, and which he had been
careful to cultivate. Though he was esteemed a good lawyer, he did not
like his profession, delighting more in the finer parts of literature,
which he studied with success: above all, he possessed that superficial
brilliancy, the art of pleasing in conversation, even with the ladies.
He knew by heart a number of little stories, which he perfectly well knew
how to make the most of; relating with an air of secrecy, and as an
anecdote of yesterday, what happened sixty years before. He understood
music, and could sing agreeably; in short, for a magistrate, he had many
pleasing talents. By flattering the ladies of Annecy, he became
fashionable among them, appearing continually in their train. He even
pretended to favors, at which they were much amused. A Madam D'Epigny
used to say "The greatest favor he could aspire to, was to kiss a lady on
her knees."

As he was well read, and spoke fluently, his conversation was both
amusing and instructive. When I afterwards took a taste for study,
I cultivated his acquaintance, and found my account in it: when at
Chambery, I frequently went from thence to see him. His praises
increased my emulation, to which he added some good advice respecting the
prosecution of my studies, which I found useful. Unhappily, this weakly
body contained a very feeling soul. Some years after, he was chagrined
by I know not what unlucky affair, but it cost him his life. This was
really unfortunate, for he was a good little man, whom at a first
acquaintance one laughed at, but afterwards loved. Though our situations
in life were very little connected with each other, as I received some
useful lessons from him, I thought gratitude demanded that I should
dedicate a few sentences to his memory.

As soon as I found myself at liberty, I ran into the street where
Mademoiselle Galley lived, flattering myself that I should see someone go
in or out, or at least open a window, but I was mistaken, not even a cat
appeared, the house remaining as close all the time as if it had been
uninhabited. The street was small and lonely, any one loitering about
was, consequently, more likely to be noticed; from time to time people
passed in and out of the neighborhood; I was much embarrassed, thinking
my person might be known, and the cause that brought me there
conjectured; this idea tortured me, for I have ever preferred the honor
and happiness of those I love to my own pleasures.

At length, weary of playing the Spanish lover, and having no guitar,
I determined to write to Mademoiselle de G----. I should have preferred
writing to her friend, but did not dare take that liberty, as it appeared
more proper to begin with her to whom I owed the acquaintance, and with
whom I was most familiar. Having written my letter, I took it to
Mademoiselle Giraud, as the young ladies had agreed at parting, they
having furnished me with this expedient. Mademoiselle Giraud was a
quilter, and sometimes worked at Madam Galley's, which procured her free
admission to the house. I must confess, I was not thoroughly satisfied
with this messenger, but was cautious of starting difficulties, fearing
that if I objected to her no other might be named, and it was impossible
to intimate that she had an inclination to me herself. I even felt
humiliated that she should think I could imagine her of the same sex as
those young ladies: in a word, I accepted her agency rather than none,
and availed myself of it at all events.

At the very first word, Giraud discovered me. I must own this was not a
difficult matter, for if sending a letter to young girls had not spoken
sufficiently plain, my foolish embarrassed air would have betrayed me.
It will easily be supposed that the employment gave her little
satisfaction, she undertook it, however, and performed it faithfully.
The next morning I ran to her house and found an answer ready for me.
How did I hurry away that I might have an opportunity to read and kiss it
alone! though this need not been told, but the plan adopted by
Mademoiselle Giraud (and in which I found more delicacy and moderation
than I had expected) should. She had sense enough to conclude that her
thirty--seven years, hare's eyes, daubed nose, shrill voice, and black
skin, stood no chance against two elegant young girls, in all the height
and bloom of beauty; she resolved, therefore, nether to betray nor assist
them, choosing rather to lose me entirely than entertain me for them.

As Merceret had not heard from her mistress for some time, she thought of
returning to Fribourg, and the persuasions of Giraud determined her; nay
more, she intimated it was proper someone should conduct her to her
father's and proposed me. As I happened to be agreeable to little
Merceret, she approved the idea, and the same day they mentioned it to me
as a fixed point. Finding nothing displeasing in the manner they had
disposed of me, I consented, thinking it could not be above a week's
journey at most; but Giraud, who had arranged the whole affair, thought
otherwise. It was necessary to avow the state of my finances, and the
conclusion was, that Merceret should defray my expenses; but to retrench
on one hand what was expended on the other, I advised that her little
baggage should be sent on before, and that we should proceed by easy
journeys on foot.

I am sorry to have so many girls in love with me, but as there is nothing
to be very vain of in the success of these amours, I think I may tell the
truth without scruple. Merceret, younger and less artful than Giraud,
never made me so many advances, but she imitated my manners, my actions,
repeated my words, and showed me all those little attentions I ought to
have had for her. Being very timorous, she took great care that we
should both sleep in the same chamber; a circumstance that usually
produces some consequences between a lad of twenty and a girl of twenty

For once, however, it went no further; my simplicity being such, that
though Merceret was by no means a disagreeable girl, an idea of gallantry
never entered my head, and even if it had, I was too great a novice to
have profited by it. I could not imagine how two young persons could
bring themselves to sleep together, thinking that such familiarity must
require an age of preparation. If poor Merceret paid my expenses in
hopes of any return, she was terribly cheated, for we arrived at Fribourg
exactly as we had quitted Annecy.

I passed through Geneva without visiting any one. While going over the
bridges, I found myself so affected that I could scarcely proceed. Never
could I see the walls of that city, never could I enter it, without
feeling my heart sink from excess of tenderness, at the same time that
the image of liberty elevated my soul. The ideas of equality, union, and
gentleness of manners, touched me even to tears, and inspired me with a
lively regret at having forfeited all these advantages. What an error
was I in! but yet how natural! I imagined I saw all this in my native
country, because I bore it in my heart.

It was necessary to pass through Nion: could I do this without seeing my
good father? Had I resolved on doing so, I must afterwards have died
with regret. I left Merceret at the inn, and ventured to his house.
How wrong was I to fear him! On seeing me, his soul gave way to the
parental tenderness with which it was filled. What tears were mingled
with our embraces! He thought I was returned to him: I related my
history, and informed him of my resolution. He opposed it feebly,
mentioning the dangers to which I exposed myself, and telling me the
shortest follies were best, but did not attempt to keep me by force,
in which particular I think he acted right; but it is certain he did not
do everything in his power to detain me, even by fair means. Whether
after the step I had taken, he thought I ought not to return, or was
puzzled at my age to know what to do with me--I have since found that he
conceived a very unjust opinion of my travelling companion. My step
--mother, a good woman, a little coaxingly put on an appearance of wishing
me to stay to supper; I did not, however, comply, but told them I
proposed remaining longer with them on my return; leaving as a deposit
my little packet, that had come by water, and would have been an
incumbrance, had I taken it with me. I continued my journey the next
morning, well satisfied that I had seen my father, and had taken courage
to do my duty.

We arrived without any accident at Fribourg. Towards the conclusion of
the journey, the politeness of Mademoiselle Merceret rather diminished,
and, after our arrival, she treated me even with coldness. Her father,
who was not in the best circumstances, did not show me much attention,
and I was obliged to lodge at an alehouse. I went to see them the next
morning, and received an invitation to dine there, which I accepted. We
separated without tears at night; I returned to my paltry lodging, and
departed the second day after my arrival, almost without knowing whither
to go to.

This was a circumstance of my life in which Providence offered me
precisely what was necessary to make my days pass happily. Merceret was
a good girl, neither witty, handsome, nor ugly; not very lively, but
tolerably rational, except while under the influence of some little
humors, which usually evaporated in tears, without any violent outbreak
of temper. She had a real inclination for me; I might have married her
without difficulty, and followed her father's business. My taste for
music would have made me love her; I should have settled at Fribourg, a
small town, not pretty, but inhabited by very worthy people--I should
certainly have missed great pleasures, but should have lived in peace to
my last hour, and I must know best what I should have gained by such a

I did not return to Nion, but to Lausanne, wishing to gratify myself with
a view of that beautiful lake which is seen there in its utmost extent.
The greater part of my secret motives have not been so reasonable.
Distant expectation has rarely strength enough to influence my actions;
the uncertainty of the future ever making me regard projects whose
execution requires a length of time as deceitful lures. I give in to
visionary scenes of hope as well as others, provided they cost nothing,
but if attended with any trouble, I have done with them. The smallest,
the most trifling pleasure that is conveniently within my reach, tempts
me more than all the joys of paradise. I must except, however, those
pleasures which are necessarily followed by pain; I only love those
enjoyments which are unadulterated, which can never be the case where we
are conscious they must be followed by repentance.

It was necessary I should arrive at some place, and the nearest was best;
for having lost my way on the road, I found myself in the evening at
Moudon, where I spent all that remained of my little stock except ten
creuzers, which served to purchase my next day's dinner. Arriving in the
evening at Lausanne, I went into an ale-house, without a penny in my
pocket to pay for my lodging, or knowing what would become of me. I
found myself extremely hungry--setting, therefore, a good face on the
matter, I ordered supper, made my meal, went to bed without thought and
slept with great composure. In the morning, having breakfasted and
reckoned with my host, I offered to leave my waistcoat in pledge for
seven batz, which was the amount of my expenses. The honest man refused
this, saying, thank Heaven, he had never stripped any one, and would not
now begin for seven batz, adding I should keep my waistcoat and pay him
when I could. I was affected with this unexpected kindness, but felt it
less than I ought to have done, or have since experienced on the
remembrance of it. I did not fail sending him his money, with thanks, by
one I could depend on. Fifteen years after, passing Lausanne, on my
return from Italy, I felt a sensible regret at having forgotten the name
of the landlord and house. I wished to see him, and should have felt
real pleasure in recalling to his memory that worthy action.
Services which doubtless have been much more important, but rendered with
ostentation, have not appeared to me so worthy of gratitude as the simple
unaffected humanity of this honest man.

As I approached Lausanne, I thought of my distress, and the means of
extricating myself, without appearing in want to my step-mother.
I compared myself, in this walking pilgrimage, to my friend Venture,
on his arrival at Annecy, and was so warmed with the idea, that without
recollecting that I had neither his gentility nor his talents, I
determined to act the part of little Venture at Lausanne, to teach music,
which I did not understand, and say I came from Paris, where I had never

In consequence of this noble project (as there was no company where I
could introduce myself without expense, and not choosing to venture among
professional people), I inquired for some little inn, where I could lodge
cheap, and was directed to one named Perrotet, who took in boarders.
This Perrotet, who was one of the best men in the world, received me very
kindly, and after having heard my feigned story and profession, promised
to speak of me, and endeavored to procure me scholars, saying he should
not expect any money till I had earned it. His price for board, though
moderate in itself, was a great deal to me; he advised me, therefore, to
begin with half board, which consisted of good soup only for dinner, but
a plentiful supper at night. I closed with this proposition, and the
poor Perrotet trusted me with great cheerfulness, sparing, meantime, no
trouble to be useful to me.

Having found so many good people in my youth, why do I find so few in my
age? Is their race extinct? No; but I do not seek them in the same
situation I did formerly, among the commonality, where violent passions
predominate only at intervals, and where nature speaks her genuine
sentiments. In more elevated stations they are entirely smothered, and
under the mask of sentiment, only interest or vanity is heard.

Having written to my father from Lausanne, he sent my packet and some
excellent advice, of which I should have profited better. I have already
observed that I have moments of inconceivable delirium, in which I am
entirely out of myself. The adventure I am about to relate is an
instance of this: to comprehend how completely my brain was turned, and
to what degree I had 'Venturised' (if I may be allowed the expression),
the many extravagances I ran into at the same time should be considered.
Behold me, then, a singing master, without knowing how to note a common
song; for if the five or six months passed with Le Maitre had improved
me, they could not be supposed sufficient to qualify me for such an
undertaking; besides, being taught by a master was enough (as I have
before observed) to make me learn ill. Being a Parisian from Geneva,
and a Catholic in a Protestant country, I thought I should change my name
with my religion and country, still approaching as near as possible to
the great model I had in view. He called himself Venture de Villeneuve.
I changed, by anagram, the name Rousseau into that of Vaussore, calling
myself Monsieur Vaussore de Villeneuve. Venture was a good composer,
though he had not said so; without knowing anything of the art, I boasted
of my skill to every one. This was not all: being presented to Monsieur
de Freytorens, professor of law, who loved music, and who gave concerts
at his house, nothing would do but I must give him a proof of my talents,
and accordingly I set about composing a piece for his concerts, as boldly
as if I had really understood the science. I had the constancy to labor
a fortnight at this curious business, to copy it fair, write out the
different parts, and distribute them with as much assurance as if they
had been masterpieces of harmony; in short (what will hardly be believed,
though strictly true), I tacked a very pretty minuet to the end of it,
that was commonly played about the streets, and which many may remember
from these words, so well known at that time:

Quel caprice!
Quel injustice!
Quio, tu Clarice
Trahiriot tes feux? &'c.

Venture had taught me this air with the bass, set to other words, by the
help of which I had retained it: thus at the end of my composition, I put
this minuet and bass, suppressing the words, and uttering it for my own
as confidently as if I had been speaking to the inhabitants of the moon.
They assembled to perform my piece; I explain to each the movement, taste
of execution, and references to his part--I was fully occupied. They
were five or six minutes preparing, which were for me so many ages: at
length, everything is adjusted, myself in a conspicuous situation, a fine
roll of paper in my hand, gravely preparing to beat time. I gave four or
five strokes with my paper, attending with "take care!" they begin
--No, never since French operas existed was there such a confused discord!
The minuet, however, presently put all the company in good humor; hardly
was it begun, before I heard bursts of laughter from all parts, every one
congratulated me on my pretty taste for music, declaring this minuet
would make me spoken of, and that I merited the loudest praise. It is
not necessary to describe my uneasiness, or to own how much I deserved

Next day, one of the musicians, named Lutold, came to see me and was kind
enough to congratulate me on my success. The profound conviction of my
folly, shame, regret, and the state of despair to which I was reduced,
with the impossibility of concealing the cruel agitation of my heart,
made me open it to him; giving, therefore, a loose to my tears, not
content with owning my ignorance, I told all, conjuring him to secrecy;
he kept his word, as every one will suppose. The same evening, all
Lausanne knew who I was, but what is remarkable, no one seemed to know,
not even the good Perrotet, who (notwithstanding what had happened)
continued to lodge and board me.

I led a melancholy life here; the consequences of such an essay had not
rendered Lausanne a very agreeable residence. Scholars did not present
themselves in crowds, not a single female, and not a person of the city.
I had only two or three great dunces, as stupid as I was ignorant, who
fatigued me to death, and in my hands were not likely to edify much.

At length, I was sent for to a house, where a little serpent of a girl
amused herself by showing me a parcel of music that I could not read a
note of, and which she had the malice to sing before her master, to teach
him how it should be executed; for I was so unable to read an air at
first sight, that in the charming concert I have just described, I could
not possibly follow the execution a moment, or know whether they played
truly what lay before them, and I myself had composed.

In the midst of so many humiliating circumstances, I had the pleasing
consolation, from time to time, of receiving letters from my two charming
friends. I have ever found the utmost consolatory virtue in the fair;
when in disgrace, nothing softens my affliction more than to be sensible
that an amiable woman is interested for me. This correspondence ceased
soon after, and was never renewed: indeed it was my own fault, for in
changing situations I neglected sending my address, and forced by
necessity to think perpetually of myself, I soon forgot them.

It is a long time since I mentioned Madam de Warrens, but it should not
be supposed I had forgotten her; never was she a moment absent from my
thoughts. I anxiously wished to find her, not merely because she was
necessary to my subsistence, but because she was infinitely more
necessary to my heart. My attachment to her (though lively and tender,
as it really was) did not prevent my loving others, but then it was not
in the same manner. All equally claimed my tenderness for their charms,
but it was those charms alone I loved, my passion would not have survived
them, while Madam de Warrens might have become old or ugly without my
loving her the less tenderly. My heart had entirely transmitted to
herself the homage it first paid to her beauty, and whatever change she
might experience, while she remained herself, my sentiments could not
change. I was sensible how much gratitude I owed to her, but in truth, I
never thought of it, and whether she served me or not, it would ever have
been the same thing. I loved her neither from duty, interest, nor
convenience; I loved her because I was born to love her. During my
attachment to another, I own this affection was in some measure deranged;
I did not think so frequently of her, but still with the same pleasure,
and never, in love or otherwise, did I think of her without feeling that
I could expect no true happiness in life while in a state of separation.

Though in so long a time I had received no news from Madam de Warrens, I
never imagined I had entirely lost her, or that she could have forgotten
me. I said to myself, she will know sooner or later that I am wandering
about, and will find some means to inform me of her situation: I am
certain I shall find her. In the meantime, it was a pleasure to live in
her native country, to walk in the streets where she had walked, and
before the houses that she had lived in; yet all this was the work of
conjecture, for one of my foolish peculiarities was, not daring to
inquire after her, or even pronounce her name without the most absolute
necessity. It seemed in speaking of her that I declared all I felt, that
my lips revealed the secrets of my heart, and in some degree injured the
object of my affection. I believe fear was likewise mingled with this
idea; I dreaded to hear ill of her. Her management had been much spoken
of, and some little of her conduct in other respects; fearing, therefore,
that something might be said which I did not wish to hear, I preferred
being silent on the subject.

As my scholars did not take up much of my time, and the town where she
was born was not above four leagues from Lausanne, I made it a walk of
three or four days; during which time a most pleasant emotion never left
me. A view of the lake of Geneva and its admirable banks, had ever, in
my idea, a particular attraction which I cannot describe; not arising
merely from the beauty of the prospect, but something else, I know not
why, more interesting, which affects and softens me. Every time I have
approached the Vaudois country I have experienced an impression composed
of the remembrance of Madam de Warrens, who was born there; of my father,
who lived there; of Miss Vulson, who had been my first love, and of
several pleasant journeys I had made there in my childhood, mingled with
some nameless charm, more powerfully attractive than all the rest. When
that ardent desire for a life of happiness and tranquility (which ever
follows me, and for which I was born) inflames my mind, 'tis ever to the
country of Vaud, near the lake, in those charming plains, that
imagination leads me. An orchard on the banks of that lake, and no
other, is absolutely necessary; a firm friend, an amiable woman, a cow,
and a little boat; nor could I enjoy perfect happiness on earth without
these concomitants. I laugh at the simplicity with which I have several
times gone into that country for the sole purpose of seeking this
imaginary happiness when I was ever surprised to find the inhabitants,
particularly the women, of a quite different disposition to what I
sought. How strange did this appear to me! The country and people who
inhabit it, were never, in my idea, formed for each other.

Walking along these beautiful banks, on my way to Vevay, I gave myself
up to the soft melancholy; my heart rushed with ardor into a thousand
innocent felicities; melting to tenderness, I sighed and wept like a
child. How often, stopping to weep more at my ease, and seated on a
large stone, did I amuse myself with seeing my tears drop into the water.

On my arrival at Vevay, I lodged at the Key, and during the two days I
remained there, without any acquaintance, conceived a love for that city,
which has followed me through all my travels, and was finally the cause
that I fixed on this spot, in the novel I afterwards wrote, for the
residence of my hero and heroines. I would say to any one who has taste
and feeling, go to Vevay, visit the surrounding country, examine the
prospects, go on the lake and then say, whether nature has not designed
this country for a Julia, a Clara, and a St. Preux; but do not seek them
there. I now return to my story.

Giving myself out for a Catholic, I followed without mystery or scruple
the religion I had embraced. On a Sunday, if the weather was fine, I
went to hear mass at Assans, a place two leagues distant from Lausanne,
and generally in company with other Catholics, particularly a Parisian
embroiderer, whose name I have forgotten. Not such a Parisian as myself,
but a real native of Paris, an arch-Parisian from his maker, yet honest
as a peasant. He loved his country so well, that he would not doubt my
being his countryman, for fear he should not have so much occasion to
speak of it. The lieutenant-governor, M. de Crouzas, had a gardener, who
was likewise from Paris, but not so complaisant; he thought the glory of
his country concerned, when any one claimed that honor who was not really
entitled to it; he put questions to me, therefore, with an air and tone,
as if certain to detect me in a falsehood, and once, smiling malignantly,
asked what was remarkable in the 'Marcheneuf'? It may be supposed I
asked the question; but I have since passed twenty years at Paris, and
certainly know that city, yet was the same question repeated at this day,
I should be equally embarrassed to answer it, and from this embarrassment
it might be concluded I had never been there: thus, even when we meet
with truths, we are subject to build our opinions on circumstances, which
may easily deceive us.

I formed no ideas, while at Lausanne, that were worth recollecting, nor
can I say exactly how long I remained there; I only know that not finding
sufficient to subsist on, I went from thence to Neutchatel, where I
passed the winter. Here I succeeded better, I got some scholars, and
saved enough to pay my good friend Perrotet, who had faithfully sent my
baggage, though at that time I was considerably in his debt.

By continuing to teach music, I insensibly gained some knowledge of it.
The life I led was sufficiently agreeable, and any reasonable man might
have been satisfied, but my unsettled heart demanded something more.
On Sundays, or whenever I had leisure, I wandered, sighing and
thoughtful, about the adjoining woods, and when once out of the city
never returned before night. One day, being at Boudry, I went to dine at
a public-house, where I saw a man with a long beard, dressed in a
violet-colored Grecian habit, with a fur cap, and whose air and manner
were rather noble. This person found some difficulty in making himself
understood, speaking only an unintelligible jargon, which bore more
resemblance to Italian than any other language. I understood almost all
he said, and I was the only person present who could do so, for he was
obliged to make his request known to the landlord and others about him by
signs. On my speaking a few words in Italian, which he perfectly
understood, he got up and embraced me with rapture; a connection was soon
formed, and from that moment, I became his interpreter. His dinner was
excellent, mine rather worse than indifferent, he gave me an invitation
to dine with him, which I accepted without much ceremony. Drinking and
chatting soon rendered us familiar, and by the end of the repast we had
all the disposition in the world to become inseparable companions. He
informed me he was a Greek prelate, and 'Archimandrite' of Jerusalem;
that he had undertaken to make a gathering in Europe for the
reestablishment of the Holy Sepulchre, and showed me some very fine
patents from the czarina, the emperor, and several other sovereigns.
He was tolerably content with what he had collected hitherto, though he
had experienced inconceivable difficulties in Germany; for not
understanding a word of German, Latin, or French, he had been obliged to
have recourse to his Greek, Turkish Lingua Franca, which did not procure
him much in the country he was travelling through; his proposal,
therefore, to me was, that I should accompany him in the quality of
secretary and interpreter. In spite of my violet-colored coat, which
accorded well enough with the proposed employment, he guessed from my
meagre appearance, that I should easily be gained; and he was not
mistaken. The bargain was soon made, I demanded nothing, and he promised
liberally; thus, without any security or knowledge of the person I was
about to serve, I gave myself up entirely to his conduct, and the next
day behold me on an expedition to Jerusalem.

We began our expedition unsuccessfully by the canton of Fribourg.
Episcopal dignity would not suffer him to play the beggar, or solicit
help from private individuals; but we presented his commission to the
Senate, who gave him a trifling sum. From thence we went to Berne, where
we lodged at the Falcon, then a good inn, and frequented by respectable
company; the public table being well supplied and numerously attended.
I had fared indifferently so long, that I was glad to make myself amends,
therefore took care to profit by the present occasion. My lord, the
Archimandrite, was himself an excellent companion, loved good cheer, was
gay, spoke well for those who understood him, and knew perfectly well how
to make the most of his Grecian erudition. One day, at dessert while
cracking nuts, he cut his finger pretty deeply, and as it bled freely
showed it to the company, saying with a laugh, "Mirate, signori; questo a
sangue Pelasgo."

At Berne, I was not useless to him, nor was my performance so bad as I
had feared: I certainly spoke better and with more confidence than I
could have done for myself. Matters were not conducted here with the
same simplicity as at Fribourg; long and frequent conferences were
necessary with the Premiers of the State, and the examination of his
titles was not the work of a day; at length, everything being adjusted,
he was admitted to an audience by the Senate; I entered with him as
interpreter, and was ordered to speak. I expected nothing less, for it
never entered my mind, that after such long and frequent conferences with
the members, it was necessary to address the assembly collectively, as if
nothing had been said. Judge my embarrassment!--a man so bashful to
speak, not only in public, but before the whole of the Senate of Berne!
to speak impromptu, without a single moment for recollection; it was
enough to annihilate me--I was not even intimidated. I described
distinctly and clearly the commission of the Archimandrite; extolled the
piety of those princes who had contributed, and to heighten that of their
excellencies by emulation, added that less could not be expected from
their well--known munificence; then, endeavoring to prove that this good
work was equally interesting to all Christians, without distinction of
sect; and concluded by promising the benediction of Heaven to all those
who took part in it. I will not say that my discourse was the cause of
our success, but it was certainly well received; and on our quitting the
Archimandrite was gratified by a very genteel present, to which some very
handsome compliments were added on the understanding of his secretary;
these I had the agreeable office of interpreting; but could not take
courage to render them literally.

This was the only time in my life that I spoke in public, and before a
sovereign; and the only time, perhaps, that I spoke boldly and well.
What difference in the disposition of the same person. Three years ago,
having been to see my old friend, M. Roguin, at Yverdon, I received a
deputation to thank me for some books I had presented to the library of
that city; the Swiss are great speakers; these gentlemen, accordingly,
made me a long harangue, which I thought myself obliged in honor to
answer, but so embarrassed myself in the attempt, that my head became
confused, I stopped short, and was laughed at. Though naturally timid,
I have sometimes acted with confidence in my youth, but never in my
advanced age: the more I have seen of the world the less I have been able
to adapt its manners.

On leaving Berne, we went to Soleurre: the Archimandrite designing to
re-enter Germany, and return through Hungary or Poland to his own country.
This would have been a prodigious tour; but as the contents of his purse
rather increased than diminished during his journey, he was in no haste
to return. For me, who was almost as much pleased on horseback as on
foot, I would have desired no better than to have travelled thus during
my whole life; but it was pre-ordained that my journey should soon end.

The first thing we did after our arrival at Soleurre, was to pay our
respects to the French ambassador there. Unfortunately for my bishop,
this chanced to be the Marquis de Bonac, who had been ambassador at the
Porte, and was acquainted with every particular relative to the Holy
Sepulchre. The Archimandrite had an audience that lasted about a quarter
of an hour, to which I was not admitted, as the ambassador spoke French
and Italian at least as well as myself. On my Grecian's retiring, I was
prepared to follow him, but was detained: it was now my turn. Having
called myself a Parisian, as such, I was under the jurisdiction of his
excellency: he therefore asked me who I was? exhorting me to tell the
truth; this I promised to do, but entreated a private audience, which was
immediately granted. The ambassador took me to his closet, and shut the
door; there, throwing myself at his feet, I kept my word, nor should I
have said less, had I promised nothing, for a continual wish to unbosom
myself, puts my heart perpetually upon my lips. After having disclosed
myself without reserve to the musician Lutold, there was no occasion to
attempt acting the mysterious with the Marquis de Bonac, who was so well
pleased with my little history, and the ingenuousness with which I had
related it, that he led me to the ambassadress, and presented me, with an
abridgment of my recital. Madam de Bonac received me kindly, saying,
I must not be suffered to follow that Greek monk. It was accordingly
resolved that I should remain at their hotel till something better could
be done for me. I wished to bid adieu to my poor Archimandrite, for whom
I had conceived an attachment, but was not permitted; they sent him word
that I was to be detained there, and in quarter of an hour after, I saw
my little bundle arrive. M. de la Martiniere, secretary of the embassy,
had in a manner the care of me; while following him to the chamber
appropriated to my use, he said, "This apartment was occupied under the
Count de Luc, by a celebrated man of the same name as yourself; it is in
your power to succeed him in every respect, and cause it to be said
hereafter, Rousseau the First, Rousseau the Second." This similarity
which I did not then expect, would have been less flattering to my wishes
could I have foreseen at what price I should one day purchase the

What M. de la Martiniere had said excited my curiosity; I read the works
of the person whose chamber I occupied, and on the strength of the
compliment that had been paid me (imagining I had a taste for poetry)
made my first essay in a cantata in praise of Madam de Bonac. This
inclination was not permanent, though from time to time I have composed
tolerable verses. I think it is a good exercise to teach elegant turns
of expression, and to write well in prose, but could never find
attractions enough in French poetry to give entirely in to it.

M. de la Martiniere wished to see my style, and asked me to write the
detail I had before made the ambassador; accordingly I wrote him a long
letter, which I have since been informed was preserved by M. de Marianne,
who had long been attached to the Marquis de Bonac, and has since
succeeded M. de Martiniere as secretary to the embassy of M. de

The experience I began to acquire tended to moderate my romantic
projects; for example, I did not fall in love with Madam de Bonac, but
also felt I did not stand much chance of succeeding in the service of her
husband. M. de la Martiniere was already in the only place that could
have satisfied my ambition, and M. de Marianne in expectancy: thus my
utmost hopes could only aspire to the office of under secretary, which
did not infinitely tempt me: this was the reason that when consulted on
the situation I should like to be placed in, I expressed a great desire
to go to Paris. The ambassador readily gave in to the idea, which at
least tended to disembarrass him of me. M. de Mervilleux interpreting
secretary to the embassy, said, that his friend, M. Godard, a Swiss
colonel, in the service of France, wanted a person to be with his nephew,
who had entered very young into the service, and made no doubt that I
should suit him. On this idea, so lightly formed, my departure was
determined; and I, who saw a long journey to perform with Paris at the
end of it, was enraptured with the project. They gave me several
letters, a hundred livres to defray the expenses of my journey,
accompanied with some good advice, and thus equipped I departed.

I was a fortnight making the journey, which I may reckon among the
happiest days of my life. I was young, in perfect health, with plenty of
money, and the most brilliant hopes, add to this, I was on foot, and
alone. It may appear strange, I should mention the latter circumstance
as advantageous, if my peculiarity of temper is not already familiar to
the reader. I was continually occupied with a variety of pleasing
chimeras, and never did the warmth of my imagination produce more
magnificent ones. When offered an empty place in a carriage, or any
person accosted me on the road, how vexed was I to see that fortune
overthrown, whose edifice, while walking, I had taken such pains to rear.

For once my ideas were all martial: I was going to live with a military
man; nay, to become one, for it was concluded I should begin with being a
cadet. I already fancied myself in regimentals, with a fine white
feather nodding on my hat, and my heart was inflamed by the noble idea.
I had some smattering of geometry and fortification; my uncle was an
engineer; I was in a manner a soldier by inheritance. My short sight,
indeed, presented some little obstacle, but did not by any means
discourage me, as I reckoned to supply that defect by coolness and
intrepidity. I had read, too, that Marshal Schomberg was remarkably
shortsighted, and why might not Marshal Rousseau be the same? My
imagination was so warm by these follies, that it presented nothing but
troops, ramparts, gabions, batteries, and myself in the midst of fire and
smoke, an eyeglass in hand, commanding with the utmost tranquility.
Notwithstanding, when the country presented a delightful prospect, when I
saw charming groves and rivulets, the pleasing sight made me sigh with
regret, and feel, in the midst of all this glory, that my heart was not
formed for such havoc; and soon without knowing how, I found my thoughts
wandering among my dear sheep-folds, renouncing forever the labor of

How much did Paris disappoint the idea I had formed of it! The exterior
decorations I had seen at Turin, the beauty of the streets, the symmetry
and regularity of the houses, contributed to this disappointment, since I
concluded that Paris must be infinitely superior. I had figured to
myself a splendid city, beautiful as large, of the most commanding
aspect, whose streets were ranges of magnificent palaces, composed of
marble and gold. On entering the faubourg St. Marceau, I saw nothing but
dirty stinking streets, filthy black houses, an air of slovenliness and
poverty, beggars, carters, butchers, cries of diet-drink and old hats.
This struck me so forcibly, that all I have since seen of real
magnificence in Paris could never erase this first impression, which has
ever given me a particular disgust to residing in that capital; and I may
say, the whole time I remained there afterwards, was employed in seeking
resources which might enable me to live at a distance from it. This is
the consequence of too lively imagination, which exaggerates even beyond
the voice of fame, and ever expects more than is told. I have heard
Paris so flatteringly described, that I pictured it like the ancient
Babylon, which, perhaps, had I seen, I might have found equally faulty,
and unlike that idea the account had conveyed. The same thing happened
at the Opera-house, to which I hastened the day after my arrival! I was
sensible of the same deficiency at Versailles! and some time after on
viewing the sea. I am convinced this would ever be the consequence of a
too flattering description of any object; for it is impossible for man,
and difficult even for nature herself, to surpass the riches of my

By the reception I met with from all those to whom my letters were
addressed, I thought my fortune was certainly made. The person who
received me the least kindly was M. de Surbeck, to whom I had the
warmest recommendation. He had retired from the service, and lived
philosophically at Bagneux, where I waited on him several times without
his offering me even a glass of water. I was better received by Madam de
Merveilleux, sister-in-law to the interpreter, and by his nephew, who was
an officer in the guards. The mother and son not only received me
kindly, but offered me the use of their table, which favor I frequently
accepted during my stay at Paris.

Madam de Merveilleux appeared to have been handsome; her hair was of a
fine black, which, according to the old mode, she wore curled on the
temples. She still retained (what do not perish with a set of features)
the beauties of an amiable mind. She appeared satisfied with mine, and
did all she could to render me service; but no one seconded her
endeavors, and I was presently undeceived in the great interest they had
seemed to take in my affairs. I must, however, do the French nation the
justice to say, they do not so exhaust themselves with protestations,
as some have represented, and that those they make are usually sincere;
but they have a manner of appearing interested in your affairs, which is
more deceiving than words. The gross compliments of the Swiss can only
impose upon fools; the manners of the French are more seducing, and at
the same time so simple, that you are persuaded they do not express all
they mean to do for you, in order that you may be the more agreeably
surprised. I will say more; they are not false in their protestations,
being naturally zealous to oblige, humane, benevolent, and even (whatever
may be said to the contrary) more sincere than any other nation; but they
are too flighty: in effect they feel the sentiments they profess for you,
but that sentiment flies off as instantaneously as it was formed. In
speaking to you, their whole attention is employed on you alone, when
absent you are forgotten. Nothing is permanent in their hearts, all is
the work of the moment.

Thus I was greatly flattered, but received little service. Colonel
Godard for whose nephew I was recommended, proved to be an avaricious old
wretch, who, on seeing my distress (though he was immensely rich), wished
to have my services for nothing, meaning to place me with his nephew,
rather as a valet without wages than a tutor. He represented that as I
was to be continually engaged with him, I should be excused from duty,
and might live on my cadet's allowance; that is to say, on the pay of a
soldier: hardly would he consent to give me a uniform, thinking the
clothing of the army might serve. Madam de Merveilleux, provoked at his
proposals, persuaded me not to accept them; her son was of the same
opinion; something else was to be thought on, but no situation was
procured. Meantime, I began to be necessitated; for the hundred livres
with which I had commenced my journey could not last much longer;
happily, I received a small remittance from the ambassador, which was
very serviceable, nor do I think he would have abandoned me had I
possessed more patience; but languishing, waiting, soliciting, are to me
impossible: I was disheartened, displeased, and thus all my brilliant
expectations came once more to nothing. I had not all this time
forgotten my dear Madam de Warrens, but how was I to find her? Where
should I seek her? Madam de Merveilleux, who knew my story, assisted me
in the search, but for a long time unavailingly; at length, she informed
me that Madam de Warrens had set out from Paris about two months before,
but it was not known whether for Savoy or Turin, and that some
conjectured she was gone to Switzerland. Nothing further was necessary
to fix my determination to follow her, certain that wherever she might
be, I stood more chance of finding her at those places than I could
possibly do at Paris.

Before my departure, I exercised my new poetical talent in an epistle to
Colonel Godard, whom I ridiculed to the utmost of my abilities. I showed
this scribble to Madam de Merveilleux, who, instead of discouraging me,
as she ought to have done, laughed heartily at my sarcasms, as well as
her son, who, I believe, did not like M. Godard; indeed, it must be
confessed, he was a man not calculated to obtain affection. I was
tempted to send him my verses, and they encouraged me in it; accordingly
I made them up in a parcel directed to him, and there being no post then
at Paris by which I could conveniently send this, I put it in my pocket,
and sent it to him from Auxerre, as I passed through that place. I
laugh, even yet, sometimes, at the grimaces I fancy he made on reading
this panegyric, where he was certainly drawn to the life; it began thus:

Tu croyois, vieux Penard, qu' une folle manie
D' elever ton neveu m'inspireroit l'envie.

This little piece, which, it is true, was but indifferently written; did
not want for salt, and announced a turn for satire; it is,
notwithstanding, the only satirical writing that ever came from my pen.
I have too little hatred in my heart to take advantage of such a talent;
but I believe it may be judged from those controversies, in which from
time to time I have been engaged in my own defence, that had I been of a
vindictive disposition, my adversaries would rarely have had the laughter
on their side.

What I most regret, is not having kept a journal of my travels, being
conscious that a number of interesting details have slipped my memory;
for never did I exist so completely, never live so thoroughly, never was
so much myself, if I dare use the expression, as in those journeys made
on foot. Walking animates and enlivens my spirits; I can hardly think
when in a state of inactivity; my body must be exercised to make my
judgmemt active. The view of a fine country, a succession of agreeable
prospects, a free air, a good appetite, and the health I gained by
walking; the freedom of inns, and the distance from everything that can
make me recollect the dependence of my situation, conspire to free my
soul, and give boldness to my thoughts, throwing me, in a manner, into
the immensity of beings, where I combine, choose and appropriate them to
my fancy, without constraint or fear. I dispose of all nature as I
please; my heart wandering from object to object, approximates and unites
with those that please it, is surrounded by charming images, and becomes
intoxicated with delicious sensations. If, attempting to render these
permanent, I am amused in describing to myself, what glow of coloring,
what energy of expression, do I give them!--It has been said, that all
these are to be found in my works, though written in the decline of life.
Oh! had those of my early youth been seen, those made during my travels,
composed, but never written!--Why did I not write them? will be asked;
and why should I have written them? I may answer. Why deprive myself of
the actual charm of my enjoyments to inform others what I enjoyed? What
to me were readers, the public, or all the world, while I was mounting
the empyrean. Besides, did I carry pens, paper and ink with me? Had I
recollected all these, not a thought would have occurred worth
preserving. I do not foresee when I shall have ideas; they come when
they please, and not when I call for them; either they avoid me
altogether, or rushing in crowds, overwhelm me with their force and
number. Ten volumes a day would not suffice barely to enumerate my
thoughts; how then should I find time to write them? In stopping, I
thought of nothing but a hearty dinner; on departing, of nothing but a
charming walk; I felt that a new paradise awaited me at the door, and
eagerly leaped forward to enjoy it.

Never did I experience this so feelingly as in the perambulation I am now
describing. On coming to Paris, I had confined myself to ideas which
related to the situation I expected to occupy there. I had rushed into
the career I was about to run, and should have completed it with
tolerable eclat, but it was not that my heart adhered to. Some real
beings obscured my imagined ones--Colonel Godard and his nephew could not
keep pace with a hero of my disposition. Thank Heaven, I was soon
delivered from all these obstacles, and could enter at pleasure into the
wilderness of chimeras, for that alone remained before me, and I wandered
in it so completely that I several times lost my way; but this was no
misfortune, I would not have shortened it, for, feeling with regret, as I
approached Lyons, that I must again return to the material world, I
should have been glad never to have arrived there.

One day, among others, having purposely gone out of my way to take a
nearer view of a spot that appeared delightful, I was so charmed with it,
and wandered round it so often, that at length I completely lost myself,
and after several hours' useless walking, weary, fainting with hunger and
thirst, I entered a peasant's hut, which had not indeed a very promising
appearance, but was the only one I could discover near me. I thought it
was here, as at Geneva, or in Switzerland, where the inhabitants, living
at ease, have it in their power to exercise hospitality. I entreated the
countryman to give me some dinner, offering to pay for it: on which he
presented me with some skimmed milk and coarse barley--bread, saying it
was all he had. I drank the milk with pleasure, and ate the bread, chaff
and all; but it was not very restorative to a man sinking with fatigue.
The countryman, who watched me narrowly, judged the truth of my story by
my appetite, and presently (after having said that he plainly saw I was
an honest, good--natured young man, and did not come to betray him)
opened a little trap door by the side of his kitchen, went down, and
returned a moment after with a good brown loaf of pure wheat, the remains
of a well-flavored ham, and a bottle of wine, the sight of which rejoiced
my heart more than all the rest: he then prepared a good thick omelet,
and I made such a dinner as none but a walking traveller ever enjoyed.

When I again offered to pay, his inquietude and fears returned; he not
only would have no money, but refused it with the most evident emotion;
and what made this scene more amusing, I could not imagine the motive of
his fear. At length, he pronounced tremblingly those terrible words,
"Commissioners," and "Cellar-rats," which he explained by giving me to
understand that he concealed his wine because of the excise, and his
bread on account of the tax imposed on it; adding, he should be an undone
man, if it was suspected he was not almost perishing with want. What he
said to me on this subject (of which I had not the smallest idea) made an
impression on my mind that can never be effaced, sowing seeds of that
inextinguishable hatred which has since grow up in my heart against the
vexations these unhappy people suffer, and against their oppressors.
This man, though in easy circumstances, dare not eat the bread gained by
the sweat of his brow, and could only escape destruction by exhibiting an
outward appearance of misery!--I left his cottage with as much
indignation as concern, deploring the fate of those beautiful countries,
where nature has been prodigal of her gifts, only that they may become
the prey of barbarous exactors.

The incident which I have just related, is the only one I have a distinct
remembrance of during this journey: I recollect, indeed, that on
approaching Lyons, I wished to prolong it by going to see the banks of
the Lignon; for among the romances I had read with my father, Astrea was
not forgotten and returned more frequently to my thoughts than any other.
Stopping for some refreshment (while chatting with my hostess), I
inquired the way to Forez, and was informed that country was an excellent
place for mechanics, as there were many forges, and much iron work done
there. This eulogium instantly calmed my romantic curiosity, for I felt
no inclination to seek Dianas and Sylvanders among a generation of
blacksmiths. The good woman who encouraged me with this piece of
information certainly thought I was a journeyman locksmith.

I had some view in going to Lyons: on my arrival, I went to the
Chasattes, to see Mademoiselle du Chatelet, a friend of Madam de Warrens,
for whom I had brought a letter when I came there with M. le Maitre,
so that it was an acquaintance already formed. Mademoiselle du Chatelet
informed me her friend had passed through Lyons, but could not tell
whether she had gone on to Piedmont, being uncertain at her departure
whether it would not be necessary to stop in Savoy; but if I choose,
she would immediately write for information, and thought my best plan
would be to remain at Lyons till she received it. I accepted this offer;
but did not tell Mademoiselle du Chatelet how much I was pressed for an
answer, and that my exhausted purse would not permit me to wait long.
It was not an appearance of coolness that withheld me, on the contrary,
I was very kindly received, treated on the footing of equality, and this
took from me the resolution of explaining my circumstances, for I could
not bear to descend from a companion to a miserable beggar.

I seem to have retained a very connecting remembrance of that part of my
life contained in this book; yet I think I remember, about the same
period, another journey to Lyons, (the particulars of which I cannot
recollect) where I found myself much straitened, and a confused
remembrance of the extremities to which I was reduced does not contribute
to recall the idea agreeably. Had I been like many others, had I
possessed the talent of borrowing and running in debt at every ale-house
I came to, I might have fared better; but in that my incapacity equalled
my repugnance, and to demonstrate the prevalence of both, it will be
sufficient to say, that though I have passed almost my whole life in
indifferent circumstances, and frequently have been near wanting bread,
I was never once asked for money by a creditor without having it in my
power to pay it instantly; I could never bear to contract clamorous
debts, and have ever preferred suffering to owing.

Being reduced to pass my nights in the streets, may certainly be called
suffering, and this was several times the case at Lyons, having preferred
buying bread with the few pence I had remaining, to bestowing them on a
lodging; as I was convinced there was less danger of dying for want of
sleep than of hunger. What is astonishing, while in this unhappy
situation, I took no care for the future, was neither uneasy nor
melancholy, but patiently waited an answer to Mademoiselle du Chatelet's
letter, and lying in the open air, stretched on the earth, or on a bench,
slept as soundly as if reposing on a bed of roses. I remember,
particularly, to have passed a most delightful night at some distance
from the city, in a road which had the Rhone, or Soane, I cannot
recollect which, on the one side, and a range of raised gardens, with
terraces, on the other. It had been a very hot day, the evening was
delightful, the dew moistened the fading grass, no wind was stirring,
the air was fresh without chillness, the setting sun had tinged the
clouds with a beautiful crimson, which was again reflected by the water,
and the trees that bordered the terrace were filled with nightingales who
were continually answering each other's songs. I walked along in a kind
of ecstasy, giving up my heart and senses to the enjoyment of so many
delights, and sighing only from a regret of enjoying them alone.
Absorbed in this pleasing reverie, I lengthened my walk till it grew very
late, without perceiving I was tired; at length, however, I discovered
it, and threw myself on the step of a kind of niche, or false door,
in the terrace wall. How charming was the couch! the trees formed a
stately canopy, a nightingale sat directly over me, and with his soft
notes lulled me to rest: how pleasing my repose; my awaking more so.
It was broad day; on opening my eyes I saw the water, the verdure, and
the admirable landscape before me. I arose, shook off the remains of
drowsiness, and finding I was hungry, retook the way to the city,
resolving, with inexpressible gayety, to spend the two pieces of six
francs I had yet remaining in a good breakfast. I found myself so
cheerful that I went all the way singing; I even remember I sang a
cantata of Batistin's called the Baths of Thomery, which I knew by heart.
May a blessing light on the good Batistin and his good cantata, which
procured me a better breakfast than I had expected, and a still better
dinner which I did not expect at all! In the midst of my singing,
I heard some one behind me, and turning round perceived an Antonine,
who followed after and seemed to listen with pleasure to my song.
At length accosting me, he asked, If I understood music. I answered,
"A little," but in a manner to have it understood I knew a great deal,
and as he continued questioning of me, related a part of my story.
He asked me, If I had ever copied music? I replied, "Often," which was
true: I had learned most by copying. "Well," continued he, "come with
me, I can employ you for a few days, during which time you shall want for
nothing; provided you consent not to quit my room." I acquiesced very
willingly, and followed him.

This Antonine was called M. Rotichon; he loved music, understood it, and
sang in some little concerts with his friends; thus far all was innocent
and right, but apparently this taste had become a furor, part of which he
was obliged to conceal. He conducted me into a chamber, where I found a
great quantity of music: he gave me some to copy, particularly the
cantata he had heard me singing, and which he was shortly to sing

I remained here three or four days, copying all the time I did not eat,
for never in my life was I so hungry, or better fed. M. Rolichon brought
my provisions himself from the kitchen, and it appeared that these good
priests lived well, at least if every one fared as I did. In my life, I
never took such pleasure in eating, and it must be owned this good cheer
came very opportunely, for I was almost exhausted. I worked as heartily
as I ate, which is saying a great deal; 'tis true I was not as correct as
diligent, for some days after, meeting M. Rolichon in the street, he
informed me there were so many omissions, repetitions, and
transpositions, in the parts I had copied, that they could not be
performed. It must be owned, that in choosing the profession of music,
I hit on that I was least calculated for; yet my voice was good and I
copied neatly; but the fatigue of long works bewilders me so much, that
I spend more time in altering and scratching out than in pricking down,
and if I do not employ the strictest attention in comparing the several
parts, they are sure to fail in the execution. Thus, through endeavoring
to do well, my performance was very faulty; for aiming at expedition,
I did all amiss. This did not prevent M. Rolichon from treating me well

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