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4. une promenade publique, probably at Vincennes. 5. l'équipage, in the general sense of "outfit."

Page 51.-1. apparoir = apparaître, a technical legal term. 2. Gomons, a lawyer, Jean Gomont, played a prominent part in formulating legislation in the sixties of the seventeenth century. 3. Duhamels, the family name of several eminent barristers of the day.

4. honnête, civil, polite.

5. Feuillants, etc., convent in the rue Saint-Honoré. — Minimes, convent near the Place des Vosges (old Place Royale).

6. au reversi, the game of cards now known as "Hearts." 7. pistoles d'or, a Spanish pistole was worth eleven francs. 8. la Gazette de Hollande, a journal published in Holland which contained letters from Paris.

9. le Mercure galant, a French monthly, which began in 1672, containing society news and light literature.

10. Bergerac, Savinien Cyrano de (1619-1655), dramatist, satirist and author of fantastic novels, as le Voyage dans la lune.

II. Des Marets de Saint-Sorlin, Jean (1595-1676), dramatist, poet and novelist.

12. Lesclache, Louis de (a. 1600-1671), author of a treatise on French orthography and popular essays on philosophy.

13. Barbin, a bookseller and publisher. The Historiettes bought at his shop were called "Barbinades."

14. à la Plaine, possibly la Plaine des Sablons, between Paris and Neuilly.

Page 52.—1. mortier, the presidents of the parliaments wore a flat velvet cap, our mortar-board.

2. cavalier, noble, or with pretensions to nobility.

3. fleuri = florissant de santé.

4. consignation, money paid to the government for the purchase of an office.

5. pécunieux, monied, already archaic in La Bruyère's day.

6. avec des bougies, the "bougie" was a wax candle which came

into use among the higher nobility in the fifteenth century.

7. le Louvre, the king's palace.

Page 53. -1. litière, Sedan-chair, which came into general use towards 1617.

2. à la chambre ou aux enquêtes; the old Parliaments, which were courts of justice, sitting in the chief towns of France, comprised two chambers, the one ("chambre") where judgments were rendered, and the other (“enquêtes”) where the briefs of the lawsuits were examined.

3. de son pied


à pied.

4. ils partageaient, unlike the grandees', their children had no body servants.

Page 54. - I. modestie, moderation.

2. V***, Versailles.


3. Falaise, in the department of Calvados.

4. fourriers, quartermasters, who chose the king's lodgings when he travelled.

5. contrôleurs, officers who had charge of the outlay for the provisions of the Court.

6. chefs de fruiterie, furnishers of the desserts, candles, etc. 7. cercle, social gathering.

Page 55.-I. vu, in all the editions but two, where it is vus. 2. république, state, Latin res publica; see below, page 68.

3. portent au vent, said of horses with nostrils raised and alert.

Page 56.1. appartement, the king's suite of rooms.

Page 57. 1. chanceler, etc., the editors refer for this entire paragraph to a corresponding passage in Montaigne's Essais, Book III, ch. VIII (vol. IV, p. 33 of Louandre's edition).

2. j'y; the pronoun y in the seventeenth century frequently referred to persons.

3. n'ait, notice that the negative follows soupçonner, an unusual construction. Note also the employment of the subjunctive after a verb which implies uncertainty.

Page 58.

was the clown.

I. d'Arlequin, the Italian comedy, where Harlequin

Page 59.- —1. une épaisseur, etc; the tone of this paragraph suggests Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes.

Page 60.1. Diseurs de bons mots, etc., a citation from Pascal's Pensées. (Article vi, pensée 19 of Havet's Edition.)

2. l'ose dire, notice that the pronoun, object of the infinitive, is placed before the auxiliary, a use now restricted to a few verbs.

Page 61.1. Straton, etc; this portrait is the Duc de Lauzun's (1633-1723), who after an adventurous youth had become secretly engaged to Mademoiselle d'Orléans, cousin of the king, and had been imprisoned for ten years in consequence. Pardoned, he fought in Ireland for James II, at the Boyne, where he was among the first to flee.


In this section the author's bitterness is even greater than before, due evidently to his position in the Condé family, where he was brought into close proximity with the nobles. Notice the second and third paragraphs quoted.

Page 62.

1. La prévention du peuple, etc., cf. Pascal: Pensées, Art. V, pensée 2: "Le peuple honore les personnes de grande naissance."

Page 63. 1. leurs nains, leurs fous, dwarfs and court fools had passed out of general favor, though some could still be found. 2. A paraphrase of number 52 of La Rochefoucauld's Maximes. Page 64.—1. Renaud de Montauban, Roger, legendary heroes in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso and elsewhere. - Olivier, the friend of Roland. - Tancrède, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, hero in Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered.

Page 65. 1. Champagne, wine is of course understood. Page 66. — 1. Thersite, the cowardly braggart of the Iliad. 2. Le Brun, Charles (1619-1690), distinguished French painter. Page 67.-I. cabinet. "Rendez-vous à Paris de quelques honnêtes gens pour la conversation." (Author's note.)

2. F***,

***, Fontainebleau, a royal residence, as V *** is Versailles

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The rue Saint-Denis was particularly occupied by small shopkeepers.


The word république has here its Latin meaning of "state," quite frequent in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; see above, page 55, note 2.

Page 68. — 1. Ce qu'il y a de plus raisonnable, etc.; this idea had been advanced by Montaigne, is found in Bossuet, and will be repeated by Montesquieu.

2. enseignes, a reference to the unsuccessful attempt made in 1669, by the chief of police, to do away with projecting signs in the streets of Paris.

Page 69. 1. Soyecour (pron. Saucour), Adolphe de Belleforière, chevalier de Soyecour, mortally wounded at Fleurus (1690), where his brother had been instantly killed (see line 3). La Bruyère was a friend of the family, and in his sixth edition (1691), had inserted" on l'a toujours vue... mais ordinaire!" into this paragraph.

Page 70.— 1, 2. Dijon... Corbie, in 1513 Dijon barely escaped capture at the hands of the Swiss. - Corbie was taken by the Spaniards in 1636.

3. le bas de saye, the saye was a thick cloak worn by Roman soldiers; the bas de saye was the lower part of the saye, a kind of skirt reaching to the knees. It was an accessory of the costume of actors of tragedy.

4. les brodequins, lace-boots worn in comedy. The cothurnus was the boot of tragedy.

Page 71. -1. régner! This portrait of Louis XIV appeared in the first edition of Les Caractères. Later, in the fourth edition, La Bruyère added a eulogy of the monarch's attention to the details of government and his support of public order and justice (no. 24 of this chapter). Other and shorter captions were printed in the seventh edition. While there is undoubtedly some excess in La Bruyère's praise of the king, the general features of his portrait may be accepted as true.

Page 72. — I. connaît


reconnaît, discerns.

2. reculement, extension, pushing back.

3. un culte faux, protestantism, which was forbidden when Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

4. usages cruels et impies, duelling, forbidden by Louis XIV. 5. lois. . . coutumes, not less than six codes of laws had been compiled between 1667 and 1685.

6. libertés, in 1682 the liberty of the Gallican (French) Church had been formally asserted.


The main theme of this chapter is self-interest, the actuating motive of man, but many foibles are also satirized in its pages.

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Page 79. -I. un même fond, of the carriage.

Page 81.1. l'esprit du jeu, see "Des Biens de Fortune," no. 74 (pages 47-48), and "De la Mode," no. 7 (pages 102-103).

Page 83.

-1. fait son propre



Page 84.1. relevé, set off, flanked.


2. les assiettes, side dishes, less in quantity than the entremets," being contained in one plate.

Page 85. 1. L'on voit certains animaux farouches, etc., a terrible picture of the peasantry of France at the height of Louis XIV's glory.

Page 86. -1. philosophie. "L'on ne peut plus entendre que celle qui est dépendante de la religion chrétienne." (Author's note.)

Page 87.—1. automate, etc., an allusion to Descartes' theory that animals are merely machines, without consciousness of their


2. meugle = mugit.

3. des fourrures, furred cloaks worn on occasions by graduates of a university, the kind of fur corresponding to their degrees. 4. hoquetons, coats worn by the archers, or police, of the municipal courts.

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