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thoroughly capable of this pitiful emotion of sensitive literary jealousy is proved, if by nothing else, by his readiness to suspect that other authors were jealous of him. No one suspects others of a meanness of this kind unless he is capable of it himself. The resounding success which followed the New Heloïsa and Emilius put an end to these apprehensions. It raised him to a pedestal in popular esteem as high as that on which Voltaire stood triumphant. That very success unfortunately brought troubles which destroyed Rousseau's last chance of ending his days in full reasonableness.
Meanwhile he enjoyed his final interval of moderate wholesomeness and peace. He felt his old healthy joy in the green earth. One of the letters commemorates his delight in the great scudding south-west winds of February, soft forerunners of the spring, so sweet to all who live with nature. At the end of his garden was a summer-house, and here even on wintry days he sat composing or copying. It was not music only that he copied. He took a curious pleasure in making transcripts of his romance, and he sold them to the Duchess of Luxembourg and other ladies for some moderate fee. Sometimes he moved from his own lodging to the quarters in the park which his great friends had induced him to accept. "They were charmingly neat; the furniture was of white and blue. It was in this perfumed and delicious solitude, in the midst of woods and streams and choirs of birds of i Corr., ii. 196. Feb. 16, 1761. ? Ib., ii. 102, 176, etc.
every kind, with the fragrance of the orange-flower poured round me, that I composed in a continual ecstasy the fifth book of Emilius. With what eagerness did I hasten every morning at sunrise to breathe the balmy air ! What good coffee I used to make under the porch in company with my Theresa ! The cat and the dog made up the party. That would have sufficed me for all the days of my life, and I should never have known weariness." And so to the assurance, so often repeated under so many different circumstances, that here was a true heaven upon earth, where if fates had only allowed he would have known unbroken innocence and lasting happiness.
Yet he had the wisdom to warn others against attempting a life such as he craved for himself. As on a more memorable occasion, there came to him a young man who would fain have been with him always, and whom he sent away exceeding sorrowful. “The first lesson I should give you would be not to surrender yourself to the taste you say you have for the contemplative life. It is only an indolence of the soul, to be condemned at any age, but especially so at yours. Man is not made to meditate, but to act. Labour therefore in the condition of life in which
have been placed by your family and by providence: that is the first precept of the virtue which you wish to follow. If residence at Paris, joined to the business you have there, seems to you irreconcilable with virtue,
1 Conf., x. 60.
do better still, and return to your own province. Go live in the bosom of your family, serve and solace your honest parents. There you will be truly fulfilling the duties that virtue imposes on you.”] This intermixture of sound sense with unutterable perversities almost suggests a doubt how far the perversities were sincere, until we remember that Rousseau even in the most exalted part of his writings was careful to separate immediate practical maxims from his theoretical principles of social philosophy.2
Occasionally his good sense takes so stiff and unsympathetic a form as to fill us with a warmer dislike for him than his worst paradoxes inspire. A correspondent had written to him about the frightful persecutions which were being inflicted on the Protestants in some district of France. Rousseau's letter is a masterpiece in the style of Eliphaz the Temanite. Our brethren must surely have given some pretext for the evil treatment to which they were subjected. One who is a Christian must learn to suffer, and every man's conduct ought to conform to his doctrine. Our brethren, moreover, ought to remember that the word of God is express upon the duty of obeying the laws set up by the prince. The writer cannot venture to
1 Corr., ii. 12.
2 As M. St. Marc Girardin has put it: "There are in all Rousseau's discussions two things to be carefully distinguished froin one another; the maxims of the discourse, and the conclusions of the controversy. The maxims are ordinarily paradoxical ; the conclusions are full of good sense.” Rev. des Deux Mondes, Aug. 1852, p. 501.
run any risk by interceding in favour of our brethren with the government. “Every one has his own calling upon the earth; mine is to tell the public harsh but useful truths. I have preached humanity, gentleness, tolerance, so far as it depended upon me; 'tis no fault of mine if the world has not listened. I have made it a rule to keep to general truths; I produce no libels, no satires; I attack no man, but men; not an action, but a vice.”1 The worst of the worthy sort of people, wrote Voltaire, is that they are such cowards : a man groans over a wrong, he holds his tongue, he takes his supper, and he forgets all about it. If Voltaire could not write like Fénelon, at least he could never talk like Tartufe; he responded to no tale of wrong with words about his mission, with strings of antitheses, but always with royal anger and the spring of alert and puissant endeavour. In an hour of oppression one would rather have been the friend of the saviour of the Calas and of Sirven, than of the vindicator of theism.
Rousseau, however, had good sense enough in less equivocal forms than this. For example, in another letter he remonstrates with a correspondent for judging the rich too harshly. " You do not bear in mind that having from their childhood contracted a thousand wants which we are without, then to bring them down to the condition of the poor, would be to make them more miserable than the poor. We should be just
1 Corr., ii. 244-246. Oct. 24, 1761. 3 Ib., 1766. Euv., lxxv. 364.
towards all the world, even to those who are not just to us. Ah, if we had the virtues opposed to the vices which we reproach in them, we should soon forget that such people were in the world. One word more. To have any right to despise the rich, we ought ourselves to be prudent and thrifty, so as to have no need of riches." In the observance of this just precept Rousseau was to the end of his life absolutely without fault. No one was more rigorously careful to make his independence sure by the fewness of his wants and by minute financial probity. This firm limitation of his material desires was one cause of his habitual and almost invariable refusal to accept presents, though no doubt another cause was the stubborn and ungracious egoism which made him resent every obligation.
It is worth remembering in illustration of the peculiar susceptibility and softness of his character where women were concerned—it was not quite without exception-that he did not fly into a fit of rage over their gifts, as he did over those of men. He remonstrated, but in gentler key. “What could I do with four pullets ?” he wrote to a lady who had presented them to him. “I began by sending two of them to people to whom I am indifferent. That made me think of the difference there is between a present and a testimony of friendship. The first will never find in me anything but a thankless heart; the second. Ah, if you had only given me news of yourself
i Corr., ii. 32. (1758.)