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      I have passed my winter like a Carthusian monk. I dine alone. I spend my life in reading and writing, and I do not sup. When one is sad, it becomes, at last, too burdensome to hide ones grief continually. It is better to give way to it than to carry ones gloom into society. Nothing solaces me but the vigorous application required in steady and continuous labor. This distraction does force one to put away painful ideas while it lasts. But alas! no sooner is the work done than these fatal companions present themselves again, as if livelier than ever. Maupertuis was right; the sum of evil does certainly surpass that of good. But to me it is all one. I have almost nothing more to lose; and my few remaining dayswhat matters it much of what complexion they be?[39]

      An air of gloom was over them all. Mademoiselle dOrlans was crying bitterly. Mme. de Genlis, as she restored her to her fathers care, in the presence of the rest, told him that she resigned her post of governess, and should start for England the next morning.Monseigneur,I am bound to give your excellency some account of my journey to Aix la Chapelle. I could not leave Brussels until the second of this month. On the road I met a courier from the King of Prussia, coming to reiterate his masters orders on me. The king had me lodged in quarters near his own apartment. He passed, for two consecutive days, four hours at a time in my room, with all that goodness and familiarity which form, as you know, part of his character, and which does not lower the kings dignity, because one is duly careful not to abuse it. I had abundant time to speak with a great deal of freedom on what your excellency had prescribed to me, and the king spoke to me with an equal frankness.

      The poet Le Brun-Pindare, dressed in a long purple cloak, represented Anacreon. The other guests were M. and Mme. Vige, her brother, M. de Rivire, Mme. Chalgrin, daughter of Joseph and sister of Charles Vernet, Mme. de Bonneuil and her pretty child, afterwards Mme. Regnault de Saint-Jean dAngely, the Marquis de Cubires, the Comte de Vaudreuil, M. Boutin, M. Gingun, and the famous sculptor Chaudet.It was necessary to settle the succession to the estates of the Duchesse dAyen, and it was impossible to arrange this without the meeting of the family. The Vicomte de Noailles was in America, the Marquis de Thsan in Germany, Mme. de Montagu was on the list of emigres, and could not enter France. Her part of the inheritance had been confiscated, but M. Bertmy, the old family lawyer, had bought and transferred it to the rest of the family, to be given her in better times.

      The lad understood, blushed crimson, and retired, profoundly grateful for being let off so easily. Neither was the lesson lost upon him; after this he played no more.

      The Major remained standing at the door, till he saw, first, a wandering gleam of light through the crevices of the old house, and then the steady beam of a candle, shining from an upper window.


      "To Berganton! What had you to do with Berganton, I should like to know?"Frederick regarded the Academy as his pet institution, and was very jealous of the illustrious philosopher, whom he had invited to Berlin to preside over its deliberations. Voltaire, knowing this very well, and fully aware that to strike the Academy391 in the person of its president was to strike Frederick, wrote an anonymous communication to a review published in Paris, in which he accused M. Maupertuisfirst, of plagiarism, in appropriating to himself a discovery made by another; secondly, of a ridiculous blunder in assuming that said discovery was a philosophical principle, and not an absurdity; and thirdly, that he had abused his position as president of the Academy in suppressing free discussion, by expelling from the institution a member merely for not agreeing with him in opinion. These statements were probably true, and on that account the more damaging.


      The Marquis de Boissy, a devoted Royalist with a long pedigree, went to one of the court balls in the dress of a Marquis of the court of Louis XV. On one of the princes of the blood observing to himMme. Le Brun, speaking of Mme. de Genlis, says, Her slightest conversation had a charm of which [465] it is difficult to give an idea.... When she had discoursed for half an hour everybody, friends and enemies, were enchanted with her brilliant conversation.