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and some of his compositions written about | M. Arouet made interest with the Marquis the
age of twelve were notable enough to de Châteauneuf, surviving brother of the be referred to in the salon of Ninon de godfather abbé, to take young François l'Enclos, a friend of his mother, then a with him as page to the Hague, where he lively old lady turned of eighty. Young had just been appointed French ambasAroúet's godfather was the Abbé de Chả sador. The marquis and suite arrived at teauneuf (Ninon's last lover), whose cler- their destination September 28, 1713; but ical repute lay chiefly in the line of gal. the diplomatic career of the attaché was a lantry, and he it was who brought the short one, for — rash boy of nineteen little poet to make his bow to the venera- he lost little time in falling into new misble fair one whose perennial charms had adventure by conceiving an undying pas. been worshipped by so many generations sion for a young countrywoman without a of lovers. The veteran Aspasia was de- sou, daughter of a Madame Dunoyen, wife lighted with the boy, his ready answers, of a French Catholic gentleman from whom sprightly talk, and manners of the pretti- she was separated. Olimpe Dunoyen, est, and Ninon's famous legacy of eighty then a young lady of twenty-one, was not guineas with which to purchase books, was exactly pretty, as Voltaire used to say the fruit of the visit. But to the poetry of some sixty years after, though amiable schooldays quickly succeeds the prose of and winsome, romantic and adventurous life, and it ere long became necessary for to a degree. October and November François to think of a profession. “I passed away, and still “soft eyes looked desire none,” said the youth,“ except that love to eyes that spoke. again;” but alas ! of literature.” But literature, in the opin- one dreadful evening early in December, ion of his father, was the pursuit of a man when the page returned to the embassy, who would soon die of hunger, and so, the ambassador confronted him, informed though law, with its wigs and sheepskins him that all was discovered, and that he pointing towards high honors and deep must hold himself in readiness for imme. Aesh-pots, had no charm for him, he be- diate departure. To the last day of bis
a law student, and ultimately an stay the love-stricken swain sent long let. avocat with the right of pleading for ters to the lady of his dreams, continuing money, as he himself put it, if he had a to write even from the cabin of the yacht loud enough voice. And in the sequel, which bore him from the enchanted shore. young Arouet's voice proved so loud that A year or two later the fascinating “ Pimhis pleadings were heard in courts far pette ” became a countess – Madame la wider and more extensive than those of Cointesse de Winterfeld – but her lover, the French capital.
to the end of his days, preserved a tender Meanwhile, he was eighteen, and in recollection of the woman he had so arParis, and had an occupation which it was dently loved in the springtime of life, when a pleasure to him to neglect. His god- the "world lay all enamelled before him, father the abbé had introduced him to a distant prospect suogilt.” other votaries of pleasure besides the In the autumn of 1715 Louis XIV, slept aged Ninon, among others to the Epicu- with his fathers, and the Regent d'Orleans rean Society of the Temple - the ancient reigned in his stead. Presently some samonastery of the Templars, where in later tirical verses appeared entitled, “ Things times Louis XVI. and his family were that I have seen,” wherein the writer educonfined — which chiefly existed for the merated a number of evil things that he purposes of elegant and sometimes by no had remarked in the late reign, and as the means elegant dissipation. He himself piece was so arranged that nearly every was nowise lacking in some of the most line began with Fai vu, the poem was remarkable qualifications for social suc- commonly called Les j'ai vu. The last
Madame de Genlis admits that he line ran that all these ills the writer had alone of the men of his century possessed seen, and yet was not twenty years old :the lost art of talking to women as women love to be talked to ; and a portrait of him
J'ai vu ces maux, et je n'ai pas vingt ans. painted when he was four-and-twenty The police, because Voltaire was twentyshows him “full of grace and spirit, with two and known as a writer of epigrams, a mocking mouth, refined profile, pos- thought this sufficient evidence to prove sessed of the air of a gentleman, a lumi- him the author of the libel, and in reply nous forehead, and a fine hand in a fine to his remonstrance an escort conducted ruffle."
him to an octagonal chamber subseDistressed and annoyed at the loose quently shown to visitors, as long as the and extravagant habits of his younger son, building stood, as Voltaire's room — in
one of the towers of the Bastile, where he | with Frederika caused him to lose two was put under triple bolts with ten feet of entire years of his life, so Voltaire was solid and ancient masonry between him wont to express contrition for the fruitand the May day world of Paris. But less passion which for a while completely never did captive possess a lighter heart. arrested his powers of thought and work. The brightness of the world shut out, he In the month of December, 1725, young employed himself, though denied pen, ink, Arouet was dining one evening with the and paper, upon his epic poem “La Hen. duke at the Hotel de Sully, still recognizriade," one entire canto of which is said able as 143 Rue S. Antoine,* when a serto have come to him in the stillness of vant came up to him, and whispered that the night watches. After nearly eleven some one wished to speak with him at the months' imprisonment the poet was per- house door. He found there a backney mitted once more to look upon the sky coach with two men, who forthwith laid and the gardens of the Palais Royal. One hands on him and belabored him over the resolution he formed in the silence of his shoulders with sticks, while the Chevalier solitary cell — to change his name when de Rohan, a dissolute man about town, he was restored to freedom; he had not and nephew of his host, and with whom succeeded well as Arouet, henceforth heVoltaire had had a quarrel some few evenwould court Fortune's smiles as Arouetings previously at the opera, enco
couraged de Voltaire. Why he chose that name is his workmen” in their task. With torn an enigma not yet solved, the most prob- frills and deranged hair the young poet able explanation being that it was the rushed back into the palace and demanded anagram of Arouet, 1. j. (le jeune); at any vengeance of the duke on the aggressor. rate, he entered the Bastile in May, 1717, But Monseigneur de Sully only shrugged François Marie Arouet, he came out of his shoulders and proposed nothing, and the Bastile the April following, Arouet de Voltaire, thus deprived of any satisfaction Voltaire. It is said that a nobleman of by the law, attempted to vindicate himself the court about this time conducted him by calling out the person who had insulted to an interview with the regent. “ Be pa- him. He set to work to take fencing lestiept,” the prince is reported to have said sons, the Rohan family were uneasy, the to him, “and I will take care of you.” police on the qui vive, a lettre de cachet “ I thank your Royal Highness for taking was procured, and Voltaire once again care of my board,” returned the irrepres- found himself a prisoner in the Bastile. sible yourh, “but I beg of you to trouble But there was no desire to keep him in yourself no further for my lodging." confinement, and as he expressed his will
In the year 1718 his first tragedy, ingness to take a run across the Channel Edipe,” was produced with decisive and visit “the land of free thought and success, and performed forty-five succes- free writing,” his offer was gladly acsive nights a run not previously equalled cepted ; •he was released on the 2nd of on the French stage. The story goes that May, and within a week shook from off at one of the performances the author, his feet the dust of ungrateful France. exulting in his triumph, appeared holding But his friends in Paris did not forget up the high priest's train and swinging it him, and ere long Horace Walpole, amthis way and that, with nods and becks bassador at the French court, brother of and wreathed smiles, as though laughter Sir Robert, then prime minister of Enholding both his sides and not gorgeous gland, wrote at the instance of the French tragedy in sceptred pall, came sweeping minister for foreign affairs, commending by. Madame de Villars, the beautiful the refugee from the city of the Bastile to wife of Louis XIV.'s famous marshal, in the good offices of Bubb Doddington. quired who the young man was who | The letter opened the doors of the great scemed so desirous to ruin the play. Whig houses of the kingdom to the exile, Upon learning that it was the author, she as his previous acquaintance with Boling. desired that he might be brought to her broke, whom he had visited at his place, box and presented to her. She cast her La Source, some five miles from Orleans eyes on him, and the kindly glance be in the opening days of 1723, gave him stowed in the susceptible hour of success favorable access to the circles of the Tory was followed perchance by other glances; party. at any rate the poet fell prostrate before It was one of the most beautiful days of the charms of the lovely wife of the hero May, nature pranking herself in her spring of Denain. She did but play with him, robe of green leaves, of many-colored however, tradition would have us believe; blossoms and of golden sunshine, when and as Goethe tells us that his love affair
Parton's Life of Voltaire, vol. i., p. 185.
Voltaire first set foot on British soil at from the passers-by, and so took occasion Greenwich. It chanced, it would seem, to ask him whether he still thought so to have been the day of the great Green- scurvily of a French archbishop. wich Fair, and the traveller describes the sir,” replied the man, “ what an abomi. river as covered with shipping, gay with nable government we have! They have flags in honor of the king and queen, who forced me away from my wife and children were upon the water in a gilded barge, to serve in one of the king's ships, and escorted by boats with bands of music. have put me in prison and chained my Continuing his rambles, he passed into feet lest I should run away before the the park, and as he viewed the crowds of vessel sails.” Some days later Voltaire well-dressed citizens, the beauty of the visited Newmarket, where he beheld, bewomen, the horse-races, the river, and the sides the king and royal family, a great mighty city in the distance, the exile was number of the nobility and a prodigious willing to believe that England was always number of the swiftest horses in Europe gay, its skies ever clear and bright, and flying round the course, ridden by little the people intent upon naught but pleas- postilions in silk jackets;” but he appears
Such were his first hours in En-| to have remarked more swindling than gland, but he was soon to learn that there magnificence about the assemblage, and, had been much illusion for him in the on the whole, to have preferred Greenwich
He was in London the same even. Park to Newmarket Races. ing, and met, as he relates, some ladies of Voltaire was thirty-two years of age fashion, perhaps at Lord Bolingbroke's when he thus found himself compelled to house at Battersea. But they lacked the begin the world anew in a foreign land, of air of vivacity which he had remarked in whose language he was almost entirely the gay crowd who participated in the ignorant, while, to add to his misfortunes, ravishing spectacle which he had wit- he lost some twenty thousand francs soon nessed at Greenwich, they even seemed after his arrival in England owing to the constrained and reserved as they sat sip- failure of a Jewish banker. ping their tea, flirting their fans, talking Nevertheless he rose to the occasion scandal or playing cards. Nor was it long and with characteristic energy set bimere one of these fine ladies explained to self to study English. An amusing story the perplexed foreigner that the scene he is told of hiin about this time. Finding had witnessed with so much satisfaction that the word plague with six letters was in the morning was not one which people monosyllabic, and that ague with only the of fashion would frequent, that the pretty four last letters of plague was dissyllabic, girls he had so greatly admired were only he fervently desired that the plague might servants or rustics, and that the brilliant take half the English language and the youths who had caracoled so gaily about ague the remainder. But the progress he the park were probably students or ap- made in his studies was remarkably rapid, prentices on hired horsés.
and when he had been at work a little over Quickly too was the stranger to view a year, he was able to write the following another side of the shield, and learn how lines of English verse, to Lady Laura often, in England at all events, “wioter Harley, whom he greatly admired, though lingering chills the lap of May," for next her husband put a speedy end to the day the wind was east, and a fashionable romance: physician explained to him that at such a
Laura, would you know the passion time the very animals wore a dejected look, You have kindled in my breast? and the most robust lost at least all their
Trifling is the inclination good humor, assuring him that the wind That by words can be expressed. blew from that quarter when Charles I.'s In my silence see the lorer head was cut off and when James II. was
True love is by silence known; dethroned.
In my eyes you'll best discover No long time after, Voltaire was upon
All the power of your own. the Thames one day in a boat, when one of Ultimately Voltaire succeeded in transthe rowers observing that his passenger lating portions of Hudibras into good was a foreigner, began to boast the supe. English verse, though he never learned rior liberty of his country, declaring with how to spell the name of the party whom the added emphasis of an oath, that he he describes as “ Wighs.” Proper dames would rather be a boatman on the Thames generally seem to have proved somewhat than an archbishop in France. The fol- of a stumbling-block to him; thus, Sir lowing day Voltaire saw the very same John Vanbrugh figures as " Chevalier man in prison, ironed, and praying an alms Wanbruck,” and the identity of Mrs.
Olåfield the actress Pope's “poor arms while they drove galloping to OsnaNarcissa " - is almost lost when we find bruck that night in extremis, from whom ber apostropbized as “Ofilds” or even be obtained many materials towards the " Ophils.” Well was it on one occasion composition of " Charles Douze ;” and he for Voltaire that be had thus turned his mixed also with Lord Lyttleton, to whom attention to acquiring a knowledge of En. in conversation one day he uttered the glish, which, by the way, he still took a couplet “Sur les Anglais : pleasure in speaking as a very old man when upwards of eighty years of age. To chop off monarch' heads or horses' tails.
Capricious, proud, one axe avails Being followed one day by a furious crowd anxious to make him comprehend how
Oddly enough, the future author of " La Britons in Hogarth's time 'felt towards the Pucelle" a poem written for a genera. race whom they regarded as their natural tion whose notions of decency were much foes, the poet lost not a wbit of his pres. on a par with those of the ladies who told ence of mind, but mounting a mile-stone, and heard the stories of the Decameron thus addressed the infuriated rabble :
- and Edward Young, who had as yet “Brave Englishmen, is it not sufficient neither written “ Night Thoughts” nor misfortune not to have been born among
entered holy orders, became great friends ; He spoke, we are assured, with and we are told by Spence that the consuch eloquence, that the people wished at versation between them turned on one oclast to carry him home on their shoulders, casion upon the dialogue in the tenth but, knowing well the capriciousness of book of “Paradise Lost,” between Sin and crowds, the exile wisely slunk away.
Death : For some time Voltaire resided in Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, the street In counterview within the gates, that now wherein Turner the painter was born, and Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame whither Porson's footsteps often turned, Far into chaos, since the friends passed in order that he might meet at the Cider through, Celler the favorite boon companion, of Sin opening; who thus now to Death began : whom he remarked that “ Dick can beat
“O Son, why sit we here each other viewus all — he can drink all night and spout
ing ?” all day.” He was welcomed, too, at Voltaire, who admired Milton little Wandsworth in the house of Everard more than he did Shakespeare, vehemently Falkener, afterwards English ambassador objected to the personification of Sin and at Constantinople, whose sons he delighted Death. Young replied by the well-known to entertain in after years at Ferney, when epigram of which the best version is that he would tell them stories of the time when given by Dr. Jobnson :their father was a father to him in England. You are so witty, profligate, and thin,
Voltaire seems to have known almost At once we think you Milton, Death, and Sin. every person of note in this country, and it is only surprising how scanty is the in- While he was in England a daughter of formation to be gleaned concerning him in the author of “ Paradise Lost”
was discontemporary records. He was received covered to be residing in London, old, innot only at Bolingbroke's town house, but firm, and pinched with poverty. also at Dawley Court, one wing of which quarter of an hour,” Voltaire tells us, “ she may yet be seen standing not very far was rich.' from Twickenham. He was a familiar It was while living in Surrey Street, guest at Bubb Doddington's magnificent Strand, that Congreve was visited by Volnew seat, Eastbury, in Dorsetshire; he taire; the dramatist spoke of his works as frequented Pope's society, and at a great triles that were beneath him, and inti. dinner at his house spoke on one occasion mated that he preferred to be visited as a so lightly of Christianity that Mrs. Pope private gentleman. “If you were nothing
- the poet's mother - a good Catholic, but that,” replied the exile, " I should rose from the table and quitted the room. never have come to see you. Warm as He lived during three months Lord was Voltaire's attachment to Bolingbroke, Peterborough, and appears to have been he relates but one trifling anecdote of his brought in contact, amongst others, with intercourse with him. The conversation Gay, Congreve, Thomson, Young, and turned one day upon the alleged avarice of Swist, whom he termed the Rabelais the Duke of Marlborough, and some one Anglais. It was in this country also that appealed to Bolingbroke to confirm the Voltaire made the acquaintance of m. statement. “He was so great a man," was Fabrice, who held poor George I. in his/ the reply, though the speaker belonged to
a different political party from the gen., the main influence which England exerted eral," he was so great a man that I have upon him was through its general atinoforgotten his faults." Another of Vol- sphere of free thought. What though his taire's friends was old Duchess Sarah," English Letters" was denounced and who told him much that she remembered every copy that could be found was seized, of her great husband's dealings with the it was in vain that the volumes were Swedish monarch Charles XII., and as burned by the public executioner (in June, sured him that she was convinced that 1734), when in lighting the pyre he did but Queen Anne, towards the close of her unconsciously help to start the general reign, had a secret interview with James conflagration of the French Revolution. II., in which she promised to name bim as her successor if he would renounce the Roman Catholic religion. Among his intimates at this time also must be remembered the unfortunate Byng, whom, twenty years later, when the cry for vengeance
From Murray's Magazine
MAXIMS FOR NOVEL-WRITERS. against him was echoed from every corner of the kingdomn, Voltaire strove so ear
Owing to the increasing amount of atnestly to save.
tentión now being paid by men, women, Of all the events that occurred in En- and children of all classes of intellect and gland during his residence there, the one profession to the interesting amusement that appears to have made the deepest of writing novels, it is thought that it may impression on Voltaire's mind was the not be out of place to offer to the writing stately funeral of Sir Isaac Newton; but public the following little compendium of he nevertheless spread throughout Eu- the principles adopted by our most sucrope the scandal that neither infinitesi- cessful modern authors. The compiler mal calculus nor gravitation would have trusts that it may at least contribute to availed to obtain for him the appointment save the beginner from the necessity of a of master of the mint had not the witty distressingly lengthened survey of their Catherine Barton, Sir Isaac's charming works, the dislike of which ordeal, it is to niece, made a conquest of the Earl of be feared, not unfrequently drives him to Halifax, her uncle's old and trusted the desperate measure of observing hufriend.
man nature at first hand. During the whole of the year 1727, Voltaire seems to have been engaged io pre
ARSENIC. The poison administered to paring for publication an issue of “La others by women intending to commit Henriade ” by subscription. The king, murder. (See also “Chloral.") George II., was no lover of “boetry,” but ARTIST. A limp creature in long hair Queen Caroline was, and to her, after and knickerbockers. Bolingbroke had declined the honor, the ATHEIST. If introduced, always the poem was dedicated. Her Majesty cour- most virtuous man in the book. teously acknowledged the compliment, Aunt. Always “maiden,” and eccentric and the king, according to custom, sent in behavior. the author a present of two thousand BARONET. A bold, bad man; somecrowns (écus).
thing like a French marquis, but younger. Three years was a long exile for an BARRISTER. As bad as a baronet, but offence such as Voltaire had committed, not so bold. yet it was towards the end of March, 1729, BEAUTY. Many prefer to make their ere he became once more a recognized heroes and beroines “not exactly handinhabitant of the city whence he had been some according to the severe canons of compelled to fly. The inport of this visit art, but yet possessing a charm of expres. to England, so far as Voltaire's influence sion which instantly fascinated all who in France and among continental nations be held it." The advantage of this deis concerned, it is almost impossible to scription is that nine out of ten of your over-estimate. The discreditable inci- readers will think it fits themselves, and dents of the beating had blown over; will be pleased accordingly. guineas had been acquired to an amount BISHOP. “Worthy;" has been an atbby no means trifling for a man so chary of lete; has “calves," or sometimes “a pair expense and so skilful in the art of invest-of calves.” ing money; and above all, he had studied CAPTAIN (ARMY). A dashing, well. our literature, history, and institutions, as dressed man in want either of cash or no Frenchman had ever done before. But morals, and generally both.