« السابقةمتابعة »
must then, said I, lock him up in your room, and put the key in your pocket. This was accordingly done : but as he went down stairs, the dog howled and made a noise ; his master turned back, and said he had not resolution to leave him in that condition ; but I caught him in my arms and told him, that Mrs. Garrick had dismissed another company in order to make room for him, —that the king and queen were expecting to see him, and without a better reason than Sultan's impatience, it would be ridiculous to disappoint them. Partly by these reasons and partly by force, I engaged him to proceed. The king and queen looked more at him than at the players.
When I have proposed to him schemes for enriching him, he has told ine, that he dreads the inconvenience of changing his manner of life; particularly, said he, I should be tempted, if I were richer, to take another servant, which, I know, is taking another master; and I should in that case have my will in nothing.
The public here has taken a great interest in M. Rousseau, and though we are now in the hottest time of our hottest factions, he is not forgot. Every circumstance, the most minute, that concerns him is put in the newspapers.
Unfortunately, one day he lost his dog: this incident was in the papers next morning. Soon after, I recovered Sultan very surprisingly : this intelligence was communicated to the public immediately, as a piece of good news. Hundreds of persons have offered me their assistance to settle him; you would think that all the purses and all the houses of England were open to him. Did he understand the language, he would live very happily in this country. He is particularly pleased that nobody makes him speeches or compliments.
What has chiefly begot a doubt of his sincerity are his great singularities, which some people take for affectation, and an art to gain celebrity : but his greatest singularity is the love of solitude, which, in a man so well calculated for the entertainment of company, and seemingly so sociable, appears very extraordinary. I can however answer for his sincerity in this particular. He would not stay in London above a fortnight. I settled him in a village about six miles from it: he is impatient to remove from thence, though the place and the house are both very agreeable to him; and, of a great variety of schemes which I propose to him, the most solitary, the most remote, the most savage place is always that which he prefers. In a few weeks he will certainly remove to Wales, and will board with a substantial farmer, who inhabits a lonely house amid forests and rivulets, and rocks and mountains. I have endeavoured to throw a hundred obstacles in the way, but nothing can divert him ; his ob- stinacy is here an invincible proof of his sincerity. I must, however, confess, that I think he has an inclination to complain of his health, more than I imagine be has reason for: he is not insincere, but fanciful, in that particular. I know not how your inquiries with regard to M. Rougemont have turned out.
Please tell Madame de Boufflers that I received her letter the day after I wrote mine. Assure her that Horace Walpole's letter was not founded on any pleasantry of mine; the only pleasantry in that letter came from his own mouth, in my company, at Lord Ossory's table, which my lord remembers very well. Tell her also that I like Mademoiselle Le Vasseur, upon acquaintance. She appears to me a good creature, more clever than she has been represented. She is only somewhat of a gossip, or what you call une commère.
Thus, dear madam, I have wrote you a long letter concerning a third person ; and have left myself neither room nor leisure to say any thing either of you or of myself. I must therefore be more concise on that head: What can I say, but that I esteem and love you, and regret my being absent from you? I am more a stranger in this place than in Paris, and the manners are by no means agreeable to me. There is a hardness in most characters, of which I now become more sensible than before. You have spoiled me for this country; and are obliged in conscience to be good to me when I shall return to you, which I hope will be soon. Remember me to Madame De Vierville and Madame De Maury, and to M. De Puiségur, as well as to M. De Barbantane. Embrace Madame De Boufflers in my name. I have only wrote to you and her since my arrival in London; which is a great crime I have been guilty of.
I have the honour to be, with great sincerity, your most obedient humble servant,
DAVID HUME TO M. SUARD.
Edinburgh, 19th November, 1766. I CANNOT sufficiently express, my dear sir, all the acknowledgments which I owe you for the pains you have taken in translating a work, which so little merited your attention, or the attention of the public. It is done entirely to my satisfaction, and the introduction in particular is wrote with great prudence and discretion in every point, except where your partiality to me appears too strongly. I accept of it, however, very willingly as a pledge of your affection. You and M. D'Alembert did well in softening some expressions, especially in the notes ; and I shall take care to follow these corrections in the English edition. My paper, indeed, was not wrote for the public eye; and nothing but a train of unforeseen accidents could have engaged me to give it to the press. I am not surprised, that those who do not consider nor weigh those circumstances, should blame this appeal to the public; but it is certain that if I had persevered in keeping silence, I should have passed for the guilty person, and those very people who blame me at present, would, with the appearance of reason, have thrown a much greater blame upon me.
This whole adventure I must regard as a misfortune in my life ; and yet even after all is past, when it is easy to correct any errors, I am not sensible that I can accuse myself of any impru. dence,-except of accepting of this man when he threw himself into my arms: and yet it would then have appeared cruel to refuse him. I am excusable for not expecting to meet with such a prodigy of pride and ferocity, because such a one never before existed. But after he had declared war against me in so violent a manner, it could not have been prudent in me to keep silence towards my friends, and to wait till he should find a proper time to stah my reputation. From my friends, the affair passed to the public, who interested themselves more in a private story than it was possible to imagine, and rendered it quite necessary to lay the whole before them. Yet, after all, if any one be pleased to think, that by greater prudence I could have avoided this dis. agreeable extremity, I am very willing to submit: it is not surely the first imprudence I have been guilty of.
I agree with you, that Rousseau will probably reply, and yet it is very difficult to imagine what he can possibly say, after having already entered into so long and minute and tedious a detail. It will be ridiculous in him to bring out any new facts of consequence, which he may pretend to have omitted ; after he has already mentioned the looks of my landladies and my own, as grounds of complaint. But whatever he may say, I am resolute to keep an absolute silence for the rest of my life; and allow every one to entertain what opinion they please with regard to this story. I fancy the only dispute in the world will be whether Rousseau is more wicked or mad, or whether he be not both in nearly equal propor