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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

For the writer was Diderot Oeuvres


[352]

In justice to Voltaire it ought to be remembered that no less great, virtuous, and religious a person than Milton ranked as one of the two objects to which "all mortals most aspire," "to offend your enemies."

[353] It has been noted above (see p. 266, _note_), how some have directly traced _Zadig_ to the work of a person so much inferior to Hamilton as Gueulette.

[354] _Micromegas_ and one or two other things avowed--in fact, Voltaire, if not "great," was "big" enough to make as a rule little secret of his levies on others; and he had, if not adequate, a considerable, respect for the English Titan.

[355] Cacambo was not a savage, but he had savage or, at least, non-European blood in him.

[356] Not in the Grandisonian sense, thank heaven! But as has been hinted, he is a _little_ of a prig.

[357] He has been allowed a great deal of credit for the Calas and some other similar businesses. It is unlucky that the injustices he combated were somehow always _clerical_, in this or that fashion.

[358] It was said of them at their appearance "[cet] ouvrage est sans gout, sans finesse, sans invention, un rabachage de toutes les vieilles polissonneries que l'auteur a debitees sur Moise, et Jesus-Christ, les prophetes et les apotres, l'Eglise, les papes, les cardinaux, les pretres et

les moines; nul interet, nulle chaleur, nulle vraisemblance, force ordures, une grosse gaiete.... Je n'aime pas la religion: mais je ne la hais pas assez pour trouver cela bon." The authorship, added to the justice of it, makes this one of the most crushing censures ever committed to paper; for the writer was Diderot (_Oeuvres_, Ed. Assezat, vi. 36).

[359] It is a singular coincidence that this was exactly the sum which Johnson mentioned to Boswell as capable of affording decent subsistence in London during the early middle eighteenth century.

[360] _Songe de Platon_, _Bababec et les Fakirs_, _Aventure de la Memoire_, _Les Aveugles Juges des Conteurs_, _Aventure Indienne_, and _Voyage de la Raison_.

[361] It is only fair to mention in this place, and in justice to a much abused institution, that this Babylonian story is said to be the only thing of its kind and its author that escaped the Roman censorship. If this is true, the unfeathered _perroquets_ were not so spiteful as the feathered ones too often are. Or perhaps each chuckled at the satire on his brethren.

[362] As with other controverted points, not strictly relevant, it is permissible for us to neglect protests about _la legende des philosophes_ and the like. Of course Rousseau was not only, at one time or another, the personal enemy of Voltaire and Diderot--he was, at one time or another, the personal enemy of everybody, including (not at any one but at all times) himself--but held principles very different from theirs. Yet their names will always be found together: and for our object the junction is real.

[363] Not the Abbe, who had been dead for some years, but a Genevese professor who saw a good deal of Jean-Jacques in his later days.

[364] "For short" _La Nouvelle Heloise_ has been usually adopted. I prefer _Julie_ as actually the first title, and for other reasons with which it is unnecessary to trouble the reader.

[365] She dies after slipping into the lake in a successful attempt to rescue one of her children; but neither is drowned, and she does not succumb rapidly enough for "shock" to account for it, or slowly enough for any other intelligible malady to hold its course.


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