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Vous une adorable créature.") The young people rehearse and coquet and amuse themselves very well indeed. M. de Bellegarde and Madame d'Esclavelles permit the frivolity in the hope that it may distract Louise from the melancholy thoughts of her husband's infidelity.

She is sufficiently distracted, it seems. The play is a comedy entitled "L'Engagement téméraire;" and one night Francueil presents to the troupe the author, one Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "as poor as Job, and with wit and vanity enough for four." Rousseau is at this time thirty-seven years old-coward, liar, sensualist, genius. It is only the génius which Madame d'Epinay and her friends regard. That covers all sins. The charming comédiennes flatter him, no doubt, to the top of his bent, and he answers them after his kind, with brutality and insult, so that they must needs worship the more. Through his comedy runs all the time that other comedy of the loves of Francueil and Louise, and in the background, watching always, Mademoiselle d'Ette writes her view of the proceedings to her Chevalier Vallory.

Among the easy lies which steal into these Memoirs of Madame d'Epinay there are, most naturally, also many suppressions of fact. In 1750 is born her daughter Pauline, whom Madame, with but too good reasons, tries to confuse with the child born in 1747. But if it is the consequences of evil-doing which ruin reputation, it is the evil itself which ruins the soul. It seems to matter very little whether in such a case Madame speaks the truth or not. The sin is sinned.

It is in this same year that Louise is introduced to the society of Mademoiselle Quinault. The Quinault is a wit, entirely without a moral sense and with a taste for clever company and doubtful jokes. Francueil calls her "la Ninon du siècle." At her house, twice

of

a week, meet a little party as clever as any in Paris. Here, one night is M. Duclos, who is to be Secretary of the Academy and historiographer France, and who is already the man who can, or at any rate does, say anything-trenchant, despotic, domineering. Here is the Marquis de Saint-Lambertsoldier, poet, philosopher, cultivated man of the world, and lover of that Madame d'Houdetot, Louise's sister-inlaw, who is afterwards the original of Rousseau's "Julie" in "Héloïse." Louise herself brings to the party ("we were only five") youth, charm, sympathy; that engaging weakness that always makes her agree with the last speaker; and that accommodating conscience that is hurt by no vileness prettily expressed. The Quinault's little niece is sent away at the dessert. One wants to say everything that comes into one's head. The hostess is not going to have any restriction on her coarse pleasantries. When the conversation turns on the decency of going without clothes, Louise weakly thinks for a minute the subject a little unsuitable "but then, M. de St.-Lambert puts into it reflections so grave, so exalted!" The remark is inimitably characteristic of the woman. A little new poem by Voltaire is introduced presently-on whose merits the little gathering differs charmingly-and another evening, when Rousseau is of the company, they discuss atheism. They touch all subjects with a cleverness not a little seductive and extraordinary, and express their theories with such a brilliancy that there is no wonder that the theorists as well as their listeners are too dazzled to see the truth. It is only Rousseau (though he is a beast, he has something of the freedom and naturalness of a beast of the field) who brings into this world of shams and artifices that enthusiastic earnestness which characterizes all his emotions while they last.

"As for me," says he, "I believe in

God." And when St.-Lambert speaks of such a faith as the origin of all the follies, "Messieurs," says Rousseau, "if you say another word, I go." And later, "I cannot bear this rage for destruction. . . . The idea of a God is necessary to happiness."

Louise is on the side of faith, too. But "we only believe as deep as we live" after all. She has a charming fit of repentance presently for her poor, light, little life; confesses all the "chagrins que m'avait donné mon mari" to the Abbé Martin; for a few days wants dreadfully to be a Carmelite, and is a little deterred from the plan by the Abbé telling her that God is not to be made a pis aller, and a great deal deterred by the fact that the world (where says M. Martin, lies her duty) is really more attractive after all.

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By this time M. d'Epinay's extravagances have necessitated a séparation de biens between husband and wife. Madame now begins to receive her friends regularly twice a week music, and to read or play comedies. Duclos comes to stay at La Chevrette, half falls in love with Louise and gets her quite into his coarse power by making her tell him the story of her love for Francueil. Mademoiselle d'Ette, who is still chez Epinay, hates Duclos, and fights him, as it were, for the mastery over the little Madame. Louise is the shuttlecock between two players. If she were a good woman her weakness would ruin her past hope. As it is

Francueil

grows cold presently, which, with his temperament, might very well have been expected. Louise weeps over his coldness to Mademoiselle d'Ette, looks up through tears, and sees-or thinks she sees-that Mademoiselle herself has a passion for Francueil. Louise is soon writing (very likely not at all unjustly) of that dearest confidante and bosom friend: "Who knows if she is not now my husband's

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spy? . I have so many reasons to suspect her."

At a supper party at Madame Jully's, Francueil, who is intoxicated, drops a note Louise has given him in front of M. d'Epinay. The hostess, who has had on her own account a pretty little experience in intrigue, picks up the note and saves the situation. It is thought that M. d'Epinay has incited Francuell to drink in order that he may make admissions derogatory to Louise. It may be true, perhaps. In this society nothing is too vile to be possible. Madame's intimates are now Rousseau, Gauffecourt, Duclos, Madame de Jully, Chevalier Vallory and Mademoiselle d'Ette. In that list there is no person clean, honorable or virtuous. It is not until Rousseau introduces Grimm to the party (though even Grimm, Heaven knows, does not reach an over-exalted standard of moral perfection) that one feels one can breathe at all in that tainted air.

Grimm is at this time still a young man. He is the friend of Holbach and Diderot, as well as of Rousseau. He is of German extraction with some of the solidity of the Teutonic character, combined with the taste and polish of the Frenchman. He is already an habitué of the salons of Madame Geoffrin and the Duke of Orleans. He is the favorite of Catharine of Russia, and has begun his "Correspondance Littéraire." In character he seems to be strong, melancholy and reserved-the man who is, as it were, always superior to the situation, hard and excellent in counsel, fixed in idea, cool and wise in judgment, firm, clear-seeing and ambitious.

Since Louise has now broken with her lover, as her lover, it is inevitable that she should fall under a new command.

It would seem to be in the nature of the noblest women, as the weakest, never to know rest or happiness until they have met their master. Only in the one case it is too hard to find him,

and in the other too easy. One may be thankful that it is Grimm who now dominates this little Madame, instead of another d'Epinay or a Francueil.

One

She begins by asking him to her concerts. He has a passionate love of music, as well as that cultivated taste for art, science and literature. night he hears her name insulted, fights a duel for its honor (alas! poor, soiled little name), is wounded and has earned her gratitude forever. Duclos, who tyrannizes over her, hates Grimm, as may be imagined. Francueil, who still visits at La Chevrette, may be, in his heart, not too much his friend. "But," says Madame, easily, "we led a very charming life." M. de Francueil came as often as M. Grimm. "Ils se partageaint même de fort bon accord les soins qu'ils voulaient bien se donner pour l'instruction de mes enfants." There is no sentence in history, perhaps, which reveals so total a depravity of all moral sense as this one. It is Grimm, but not Louise, who does at last object to the situation, and, having forced her to quarrel with Duclos, suggests that Francueil shall no longer be a guest at her house.

With her connection with Grimm (it lasts till her death) begins the least unworthy part of her life. If he loves her he loves his career and ambition better. But he rules her. And on her side she has that wholesome fear of him which often keeps a fickle nature constant.

It is in 1756 that Madame d'Epinay offers Rousseau the famous "Hermitage" the little house situated near La Chevrette, on the borders of the forest of Montmorency, and belonging to M. d'Epinay. Rousseau responds to the offer after this manner: "Do you want to make me a valet, a dependent, with your gift?" says he-and takes it.

Madame has now the satisfaction of seeing every day the greatest scoundrel and genius of the time. Here is the man at once mean and great, lower

than the beasts in his instincts, and with aspirations reaching to the gods. Here he is, very vile, but not wholly vile; mixed in the basest intrigues, vain, mad, morbid, lying, treacherous, and yet with ideals not all ignoble, and a rugged earnestness not to be denied.

Madame's pleasure at being so nearly in touch with a celebrity can never be quite unalloyed. The celebrity is, from the first, consistently rude and ungrateful, taking offence where no offence is meant, piqued, childish, ridiculous, and obstinately seeing the world en noir. To La Chevrette come constantly Desmahis, Saint-Lambert, Gauffecourt, Monsieur Jully. Louise, gaily playful, calls them "mes ours;" and Grimm her "Tyran Le Blanc." "Tyran Le Blanc" is called away presently by his duties; and Louise, on some ill-fated day, introduces that charming sister-in-law of hers, Madame d'Houdetot, at the Hermitage.

Hitherto the relationship between the Hermit and Madame d'Epinay has been a kind of coquettish friendship. If Rousseau is a little bit in love with Madame (and he always falls in love -save the mark!-with any woman with whom he is brought much in contact), Louise, for all her "Tyran Le Blanc," is not the woman to object to the admiration. It seems pretty certain that she feels a little betrayed when Jean-Jacques finds in the sisterin-law the Julie of his "Nouvelle Héloïse" in the flesh, and worships at the shrine of a woman who is neither modish nor beautiful, and is already provided (though, to be sure, that does not count much in these times) with both husband and lover. Louise is thrown back upon herself. There is a coldness. Then she sends Rousseau some flannel for a waistcoat-to restore warmth one may suppose. There is a deeper coldness. Then an angry flame about a letter. If there is anything duller than details of old intrigues it is the details

of old quarrels. It may be safely assumed that Rousseau is in the wrong (he has a talent for being in that position) and that Louise is inconsequent and imprudent as usual. One may well pity her. Her Tyrant has joined the army at the bidding of the Duke of Orleans. She writes to him that when he is with her he inspires her with that feeling of security which a child has resting on its mother's breast. There are a thousand dangers and difficulties about her loneliness. Her father-inlaw, who cared for her, is dead. She has certainly no wisdom or judgment of her own to rely on. She impetuously confides in everybody, as she has always done, and her confidences are, very naturally, betrayed. She is supposed to inform the Marquis de SaintLambert of Rousseau's passion for his mistress. Perhaps she really does; she denies the insinuation SO warmly. Everybody seems to get mixed up in the quarrel, and all act after their own natures, which are bad. Its first vehemence dies out a little. But Rousseau, who still keeps her gift-the Hermitage-defames the giver with a matchless foulness in his "Confessions." From that effect of her folly, even Grimm (who, from his letters, would seem to be the only person who brings any reason and common sense into the dispute) cannot save her. All the time Madame has been writing hini plaintive little lying letters (giving her own convenient, plausible views of the situation and her conduct, which deceive herself, but not her lover or the world.

In 1757 she goes to Geneva, partly on account of money troubles and partly to consult the famous Dr. Tronchin. She leaves Grimin behind ber, at war with Rousseau and revising the first volumes of the famous Encyclopædia with Diderot. With her go her son and Linant, his tutor. (Louise is always a good mother, according to her lights,

and aptly described as one of those women "who write moral treatises on education in the brief leisure left them by their lovers.") She establishes herself then at Geneva under Tronchin, and lives there a life very modest and simple. She has her mornings to herself, dines en famille, and after dinner receives till seven or eight. She walks a good deal in the public gardens. She has always been fond of walking, and Tronchin, who is greatly in advance of his age in his views upon health, recommends the exercise to his lazy and ladylike patients. The little society of Geneva is very pleasant and honest, Madame finds. One plays cards, does needlework, has a little music, takes tea after the English fashion, and visits one's friends in the afternoons. Isn't this better than La Chevrette and Mademoiselle d'Ette (Madame has completely broken with the d'Ette by now), and the uneasy years of intrigue and passion that made up her youth?

When Grimm comes to Geneva for an eight months' stay, during which he and Louise work together at the "Correspondance Littéraire," she is perhaps as happy as she has ever been in her life. She presently makes the acquaintance of Voltaire, who calls her his Beautiful Philosopher, and plays with her (all men regard Louise as a clever little toy, it seems) when she becomes a constant visitor at Les Délices, while she, on her side, speaks of that "withered Pontiff of Encyclopædism" as more amiable, more gay and more extravagant than at fifteen.

When she returns to Paris, after an absence of two years, Rousseau has left the Hermitage. Grimm has been nominated envoy to Frankfort, and she finds a resource from boredom and solitude in the friendship of Diderot and the Salon of Baron Holbach, and that "Correspondance Littéraire," which is Grimm's true title to glory, and which has as its aim to render foreign princes

an account of the art, science, literature, wit and mental progress of Paris. Madame d'Epinay is now past youth. Her mother is dead. Her daughter, Pauline, is married. M. d'Epinay, of whom Diderot says that he ran through two millions of money without saying a kind word or doing a good action to anybody, is completely bankrupt. Madame takes a very small house, establishes her Salon, and reconquers that world, which through bad health, damaged reputation and long absence she has lost. She is now, perhaps, both morally and mentally her best. The quick temptations of youth have left her. And this is the woman, alas! who is only good when there is no incitement to be bad. It must be said of her that she has shown not a little pluck and spirit in the face of poverty and difficulties. Her fickleness has Grimm's strength to support it. Her sympathy with literature makes an honest interest for her. If she is still something of the gay little liar, bright, volatile, intriguing, who began the world as Louise d'Esclavelles, that is because life, though it develops character, seldom alters it.

The Salon of Madame d'Epinay has that characteristic common to nearly all the Salons-its presiding genius is neither young, beautiful, wealthy, nor even well educated.

A woman, in fact, always influences not by how much she knows, but by how much she feels. In the gatherings of this little Louise, at any rate, the gravest subjects are discussed and threshed out. After the ivresse and folly of the Regency, gravity has suddenly become the mode. The most frivolous women are profoundly absorbed in political economy and philanthropy. Philosophic ideas are daily gaining ground. To-day one is evolving a new religion-some fine religion of Humanity, which works out beautifully in talk or on paper, and in prac

tice leads to Candeille, Goddess of Reason. To this Salon comes almost the whole diplomatic corps. Baron Gleichen, Lord Stormont (the Ambassador of Great Britain), Caraccioli, Diderot, Galiani and the ill-fated Marquis de Mora, are here almost every night. Louise listens equally charmingly to them all. Is she a humbug? Hardly. She has only that most dangerous gift -the power of seeing things exactly as the last speaker sees them. When this man is talking philosophy to her she is an impassioned philosopher. With a theologian she has a culte for religions. To be sympathetic it is not necessary to know much of a man's work and aims, but essential to catch his enthusiasm for them, to respond to fervor with fervor, and to realize that what one's dearest hope is to oneself this man's career or philosophy or ambition is to him.

If even Madame d'Epinay has this gift in a less degree than some of her rival Salonières, that she has it in a very marked degree is not to be doubted.

In the early days of 1775 appear in print her "Conversations d'Emilie," which are, in fact, literal reproductions of conversations she has had with a certain dear little granddaughter, her daughter's child. The book, though it is really a book of education, is only another proof that nature and naturalness are always delightful. Little Emilie's replies have the innocent naïveté of childhood and all the freshness of truth. Madame d'Epinay's talent as a writer is, indeed, like the literary talent of nearly all women, and lies in this work, as in her "Memoirs," in reproduction and observation, and not in invention. "Emilie" is smiled on by Voltaire in his old age at Ferney, and by that cleverest of women, the Empress Catharine of Russia. Diderot, Grimm, Gleichen and Galiani praise its gaiety and originality, and,

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