Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

difike was being prevented exhi. Geneva are his best friends in all biting a play there to the marshal kind of subscriptions, witnefs his duke de Richelieu ; for at the in- 'edition of Corneille) to recount Stant, (which made the light the honours he received, and conmore conspicuous) they were go- nexions he made in England; and ing to lift the curtain, a cavear in ,recounts that one evening all the form came from the states, and geniuses were assembled in compli. too powerfully attended to be ment to him, at the earl of Petergainsaid.

borough's on Parson's Green. As At Fernex, his place of refi- he had read and admired Addi. dence, he found a large old French fon's works, more than any other, chateau, which he razed to the he was happy to plant himself near ground; and in its stead, has erect. fo great a man, himself being then ed a very noble seat-like house ; a ftripling. but preserving some awkward It so happened our English au. gateways, and turrets, the beauty thor was in one of his fits of taci. of the building is much deformed turnity; but had drank too much, on that front which faces the great even so as to be obliged to disroad to Gex; and the back front charge some share of what he had is only visible to those walking loaded his ftomach with ; when there.

the evening ended, and the comNotwithstanding his long stay pany separating, Voltaire waited in England, and his pretended at- on Mr. Addison to the coach; contention to, and affectation of our fessed his obligation at having bad tafte in planting, building, and the honour to fit so near him all the gardening, every part of his de- time; but added, " That he was mesoe is equally frenchified as any sorry to say the best thing which citizen's plat of ground in the en- came out of his mouth that night yirons of Paris. All his woods was the claret." are cut into walks ítar-fashion ; It was at the same iime he claims and all the variety confifts in its the merit of furnishing Mr. Pope being a star of greater or less mag. with the metaphor of his ape in nitude, with more or fewer rays. the firit Essay on Man; and even

Being the first possessions he ever says, that many other of the best enjoyed, he takes all methods at philosophical maxims were his table to inform his guests that own; particularly all that portion every dish comes off the territoire; of the ihird essay, which gives the and as a gallows is the mark of a history of natural government. seigneurie or manor in France, he However his pen now may be is not wanting also to inform you unequal to tracts of length or soli, that he has as many potences as dity, his vein for the bon-mot would ftring half the monarchs in and quick repartee remains, and Europe ; and who, as he often most likely will to the last; one says, deferve no other or better proof of this will serve for the exaltation.

present. He seems fond (politically fo, At the rehearsal of one of his perhaps ; because the English at own tragedies, Mr. Cramer, book

seller

seller at Geneva (and Voltaire's the fame change of ideas, change own immediate publisher) was fi. the scenes too ; and equally ima. nishing his part; which was to end gine the business of three days to with fome dying sentences ; when be comprized into three hours; as Voltaire, all despotic over those that incidents of time and chance he thinks his dependents, cries should fall into the compass of out aloud; « Cramer, you lived three hours;, which it is impoflike a prince for the four preced. lible fhould have occurred in as ing acts, but at the fifth you die many days. like a bookseller." Dr. Tronchin, Bút aś French tragedy all centhe Boerhaave of this age, being ters in palace-plot, and cabinet. present, could not help in kind- conspiracy, and as all their spe. ness interfering; adding with all, cies of comedy falls into the path " Why, Monf. de Voltaire, can of parlour-intrigue, their stage may you ever expect to have gentle- ftill support this folly half a cen. men to be at this expence of tury longer. The English being dresses, and fatigue of getting by their nature Ubiquarians, and such long parts, if you thus con- seldom in one place long, must tinue to upbraid them? On the have painted canvass as thick as contrary, I think they all deserve their 'ideas; or they would fall the greatest encouragement at your alleep. hands; and as to my friend Cra. To return to our little theatre mer, I declare, that, as far as I am at Fernex: the attendants are a judge, he dies with the same made up of the butler, coach. dignity he lived." Voltaire, who man, groom, &c. I have caught derefts advice, or being informed the laughing dairy-maid in the by an inferior (for an author is, in habit of a prieftels : and the old his eye, beyond even an Æscula- cook was found in the fact of pius were he living) made this being for that night a young cool answer ; “ Pr'ythee, doctor, veital. when you have got kings to kill, But what abates the whole plea. kill them your own way; let me sure, is the frequent and outrakill mine as I please.”

geous interruptions of Mr. Vol. Mr. Voltaire's theatre is in one taire, who, when any pafrage of his out-offices, is neatly fitted goes wrong, never fails to proup, and may contain two hundred claim it: and will cross the stage persons ; two changes of scenes in his night-cap and gown to answer all the ends of French tra- fcold at an empress, or pull the gedy or comedy; tho' they begin cap of a queen. to follow the English cuítom of Great wits, says a great author, late, and think unity of time and are surely allied to madness; one place not essential in the least to would imagine this who saw our good plays.

epic writer on such a night. I reIndeed, if my fancy tretches so member his coachman not enterfar, as one night to imagine a par. ing time enough to lay him down cel of deal planks to be Athens, gently in the hour of death, in the the next evening Paris, and the character of a Turkish flave, he day after old Rome; I may, by changed his tragedy part into

comic reasoning; and whimsically I hear amounted to near goool. asked him for a receipt in full of all sterling, demands; “ for I am sure,” said When we consider how many Voltaire, “ I must be in your crowned heads espoufed this un. debt, or you would not have used derraking, this fum less surprises; me so, as to let me die thus like a but this we know, that where (as beggar."

the empress-queen for instance) After the most serious conclufion any great personage subscribed for of a tragedy, or refined finishing an hundred, and only in politeof a comedy, this great man ren. ness took one copy; he sold all the ders himself truly little, by some rest at a market price, and so trafjeft to the audience, lower, if pof- ficked with the generofity of his lible, than a merry andrew's at best friends. Bartholomew fair.

The young couple live under his And so little does he think mu. roof; and though never married fic a part of the entertainment, himself, yet does he love to see othat, when Mr. Hayes, now mas- thers happy in that state; having, ter of the king's band in Dublin, as I heard him say, joined togemade up a pleasing set in his or ther eighteen couple of servants, chestra, he always shortened their during his residence at Fernex : ingenuity by the warning-bell ; or scarce then above five years. would be laughing in the pit or He has other good houses on his boxes with ladies, so very loud, eftates; such as Tournaye, &c. for as to drown all efforts of har. the French mark their smallest demony.

mernes with a chateau ; though This is rather the more furprif. perhaps the said building thall ing, as he pays great attention to never be furnished or finished. his niece, madame Dennis; who Under these articles of finishing plays the harpsichord equal, if not and furnishing, no houses are per. superior, to any profeffor of the haps fo insufferably defective as the science,

country-houses in France : those And, since I have mentioned who can afford to have two houses, one lady of his houshold, I am (namely, town and country) send called upon to inform the reader all their best moveables to Paris; that the descendant of the great while those whose circumscribed Corneille was at the eve of her fti. fortunes never permit them that pend, as a pensioner in some con. advantage, live in farms; which vent in France ; when he, with no being tricked off with a few turrets small labour, found her out; and and pinnacles, bears the name of having married her to a French chateau always. officer, one Depuy, Voltaire seem. From this vanity of a little piece ingly published Corneille's works of property, occurs that perpetual by subfcription, to make her a for- jumble in ihe names of fainilies, so tune equal to her husband; but, as hardly to be able ever to distin. from many other concurrent cir. guilh one branch from another : cumstances in his life of avarice for Tould a lord of a manor have and penury, I do really believe en sons, one takes the name of Voltaire shared the profits, which Du-bois (of the wood); a second

de

de la Haye (of the hedge); a third that the accidental readence of de la Tour, (of the tower); a this jesuit in his house, has frefourth de la Fountaine (of the quently given an handle for many fountain); till, after every part to think and say, that, however of the house and garden is ran

ludicrous our epic is in public, sacked for a frei appellation, that in private he is not without should the good lady bring ano. his fears; which he proves by ther, they would call him, rather having this reverend chaplain in than not give some Nom de Guerre his house and at his elbow, where. at the christening, de la Jartiere, as it is well known that both the from one of his mother's garters. vespers and mattins of Monf. de

But to return to Fernex: the Voltaire are chess and back-gamparish church forming part of the mon, piquet, or a game at qua. quadrangle or grand cour to the drille. old chateau ; and Voltaire being When he invited the poor Pere thereby intercepted a view of the Adam to his house, it is said he lake, fairly fawed the church in was ingenious enough to add, “ if two, without any spiritual licence you can dare to live with a man for so doing ; or, without a with who professes himself to have no your leave, or by your leave of the religion at all, or, if any thing, bishop or dean; but, as a salvo to is a stricter disciple of Confucius the injury, he has put in very large than you can be of your humble capitals, diftinguishable from the master, then come to me.” great road to the cown of Gex (and He seldom goes to bed till day. Io purposely intended) these words: break, drinking coffee almoft eve

ry half hour, and playing at Deo Erexit Voltaire. chess; next day he is never visible

till noon, and then disagreeably Many epigrams, fonnets, and fo; having but too often a dirty madrigals have been wrote on the banjan, and unpowdered tye-wig, occafion, but not one worthy of with the knots before; and a cap insertion ; fuffice it, that as the over that, either of filk or velvet rule of his conduct is, in general, embroidered ; and being naturally every school-boy can throw his hafty and waspish, I am often [quib of animadverfion.

reminded of Lear as reprefented On the dissolution of the order in a strolling company, where the of jesuits, and of course their dif. wardrobe furnishes the same suis sipation, Voltaire selected one to for that insane king, as for the be his table-companion, and fel. Mahomet of some Turkish tragedy, dow chefs.player. The poor Pere incomplete at least, and at beft Adam (that is his name) is forced very shabby. to eat his pudding, and hold his The Jesuit" refiding with tongue; for never was a Welsh Mors. de Voltaire being rather curate so much she butt of his a man of night, than ftriking squire's arrows, as is this chaplain genius, often gives this head of his.

of the family an handle to make I give him a title here Voltaire him the butt of conversation ; never intended him; but I know however, the Pere Adam follows

the

the old adage of, « eating his But I must also observe to you, pudding, and holding his tongue." that a piftol ball will kill me, but

Voltaire says of him often, I can have no effect on yop; lead eft Pere Adam, mais pas le premier will affimilate with your brain, and des hommes, He may be Father therefore we are not on an equal Adam, but is far from being the footing. first of men.

I am, with all respect, To draw up the curtain of Berlin once more (which seemed al

VOLTAIRE. ready dropt) I should inform the reader that Maupertuis and he had The quarrel, by these means, a real quarrel, and what the king ended like that of Dr. Caius and of Pruffia began in a political jeft, Sir Hugh Evans. It became a had near ended in a very serious party-affair of the most laughable manner.

kind; so that the very boys of Indeed, the phlegmatic difpofi- Berlin upbraided Monf. de Mau. tion of Maupertuis, (a Norman) pertuis, for not fending a squirt to was a proper subject for the king, Monf. de Voltaire, instead of a in his hours of humour and raillery, challenge with ball and pistol. to play off his artillery on, by means To return to our lord-paramount of the said Maupertuis, against the ' at the chateau de Fernex, where he vivacity of a Frenchman, born may be truly called such; the gay fouthward, and differing more from part of Geneva take delight in via the northern French in the several fiting him; but as he knows whac provinces of Normandy, Britany, is related to them, will reach the Anjou, &c. than perhaps any coun- ears of their magistracy, he never try in the globe.

fails saying the severeit things an To return, matters were carried irritated genius can invent. so high, that Maupertuis fent a A gentleman's equipage not challenge to Voltaire ; then fick coming punctually, who was on a in bed. The exact words of his vifit to him, he asked if the coachinvitation to the field of battle I man was a Genevice ; and being never saw, but his answer was al. answered in the affirmative, he re.. inost in these words.

plied, “Oh! chere the very fer

vants are kings ; no wonder you Monsieur de Maupertuis. are fo tyrannically used.”

At another time (the reader must SIR.

observé that Geneva has no terri.

tory) he said, fuppofing each free I had the honour of your chal. citizen of this great republic had a lenge, which I would gladly have shirt, and would lend it on the ocaccepted, had you given me the casion, they might cover their do. choice of my own weapons ; being minion with their own linen. ill a-bed, a syringe would have His house is a receptacle for all been the most proper inftrument ; foreigners; and, as every such vi. and that, from your known huma. fitor it rains his genius to entertain nity, I do expect to receive from him, no wonder, by such a quick your skilful hands,

fucceffion of all the several inhabi. VOL. X,

F

tants

« ForrigeFortsett »