The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau — Volume 05
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The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau — Volume 05


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Book V. by Jean Jacques RousseauThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Book V.Author: Jean Jacques RousseauRelease Date: December 6, 2004 [EBook #3905]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ROUSSEAU ***Produced by David WidgerTHE CONFESSIONS OF JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU(In 12 books)Privately Printed for the Members of the Aldus SocietyLondon, 1903BOOK V.It was, I believe, in 1732, that I arrived at Chambery, as already related, and began my employment of registering land forthe king. I was almost twenty-one, my mind well enough formed for my age, with respect to sense, but very deficient inpoint of judgment, and needing every instruction from those into whose hands I fell, to make me conduct myself withpropriety; for a few years' experience had not been able to cure me radically of my romantic ideas; and notwithstandingthe ills I had sustained, I knew as little of the world, or mankind, as if I had never purchased instruction. I slept at home,that is, at the house of Madam de Warrens; but it was not as at Annecy: here were no gardens, no brook, no landscape;the house was dark and dismal, and my apartment the most gloomy of ...



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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Confessionsof J. J. Rousseau, Book V. by Jean JacquesRousseauThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Book V.Author: Jean Jacques RousseauRelease Date: December 6, 2004 [EBook #3905]Language: English*E*B* OSTOAK RRT OOUFS STEHIASU  P**R*OJECT GUTENBERGProduced by David WidgerTHE CONFESSIONS OF JEAN JACQUESROUSSEAU(In 12 books)
Privately Printed for the Members of the AldusSocietyLondon, 1903BOOK V.It was, I believe, in 1732, that I arrived atChambery, as already related, and began myemployment of registering land for the king. I wasalmost twenty-one, my mind well enough formedfor my age, with respect to sense, but verydeficient in point of judgment, and needing everyinstruction from those into whose hands I fell, tomake me conduct myself with propriety; for a fewyears' experience had not been able to cure meradically of my romantic ideas; and notwithstandingthe ills I had sustained, I knew as little of the world,or mankind, as if I had never purchasedinstruction. I slept at home, that is, at the house ofMadam de Warrens; but it was not as at Annecy:here were no gardens, no brook, no landscape; thehouse was dark and dismal, and my apartment themost gloomy of the whole. The prospect a deadwall, an alley instead of a street, confined air, badlight, small rooms, iron bars, rats, and a rottenfloor; an assemblage of circumstances that do notconstitute a very agreeable habitation; but I was inthe same house with my best friend, incessantlynear her, at my desk, or in chamber, so that Icould not perceive the gloominess of my own, or
have time to think of it. It may appear whimsicalthat she should reside at Chambery on purpose tolive in this disagreeable house; but it was a trait ofcontrivance which I ought not to pass over insilence. She had no great inclination for a journeyto Turin, fearing that after the recent revolutions,and the agitation in which the court yet was, sheshould not be very favorably received there; buther affairs seemed to demand her presence, asshe feared being forgotten or ill-treated, particularlyas the Count de Saint-Laurent, Intendent-generalof the Finances, was not in her interest. He had anold house in Chambery, ill-built, and standing in sodisagreeable a situation that it was alwaysuntenanted; she hired, and settled in this house, aplan that succeeded much better than a journey toTurin would have done, for her pension was notsuppressed, and the Count de Saint-Laurent wasever after one of her best friends.Her household was much on the old footing; herfaithful Claude Anet still remained with her. Hewas, as I have before mentioned, a peasant ofMoutru, who in his childhood had gathered herbs inJura for the purpose of making Swiss tea; she hadtaken him into her service for his knowledge ofdrugs, finding it convenient to have a herbalistamong her domestics. Passionately fond of thestudy of plants, he became a real botanist, andhad he not died young, might have acquired asmuch fame in that science as he deserved forbeing an honest man. Serious even to gravity, andolder than myself, he was to me a kind of tutor,commanding respect, and preserving me from a
number of follies, for I dared not forget myselfbefore him. He commanded it likewise from hismistress, who knew his understanding,uprightness, and inviolable attachment to herself,and returned it. Claude Anet was of an uncommontemper. I never encountered a similar disposition:he was slow, deliberate, and circumspect in hisconduct; cold in his manner; laconic andsententious in his discourse; yet of an impetuosityin his passions, which (though careful to conceal)preyed upon him inwardly, and urged him to theonly folly he ever committed; that folly, indeed wasterrible, it was poisoning himself. This tragic scenepassed soon after my arrival, and opened my eyesto the intimacy that subsisted between Claude Anetand his mistress, for had not the information comefrom her, I should never have suspected it; yet,surely, if attachment, fidelity, and zeal, could meritsuch a recompense, it was due to him, and whatfurther proves him worthy such a distinction, henever once abused her confidence. They seldomdisputed, and their disagreements ever endedamicably; one, indeed, was not so fortunate; hismistress, in a passion, said something affronting,which not being able to digest, he consulted onlywith despair, and finding a bottle of laudanum athand, drank it off; then went peaceably to bed,expecting to awake no more. Madam de Warrensherself was uneasy, agitated, wandering about thehouse and happily—finding the phial empty—guessed the rest. Her screams, while flying to hisassistance, alarmed me; she confessed all,implored my help, and was fortunate enough, afterrepeated efforts, to make him throw up the
laudanum. Witness of this scene, I could not butwonder at my stupidity in never having suspectedthe connection; but Claude Anet was so discreet,that a more penetrating observer might have beendeceived. Their reconciliation affected me, andadded respect to the esteem I before felt for him.From this time I became, in some measure, hispupil, nor did I find myself the worse for hisinstruction.I could not learn, without pain, that she lived ingreater intimacy with another than with myself: itwas a situation I had not even thought of, but(which was very natural) it hurt me to see anotherin possession of it. Nevertheless, instead of feelingany aversion to the person who had this advantageover me, I found the attachment I felt for heractually extend to him. I desired her happinessabove all things, and since he was concerned inher plan of felicity, I was content he should behappy likewise. Meantime he perfectly entered intothe views of his mistress; conceived a sincerefriendship for me, and without affecting theauthority his situation might have entitled him to,he naturally possessed that which his superiorjudgment gave him over mine. I dared do nothinghe disproved of, but he was sure to disapproveonly what merited disapprobation: thus we lived inan union which rendered us mutually happy, andwhich death alone could dissolve.One proof of the excellence of this amiablewoman's character, is, that all those who loved her,loved each other; even jealousy and rivalship
submitting to the more powerful sentiment withwhich she inspired them, and I never saw any ofthose who surrounded her entertain the least ill willamong themselves. Let the reader pause amoment on this encomium, and if he can recollectany other woman who deserves it, let him attachhimself to her, if he would obtain happiness.From my arrival at Chambery to my departure forParis, 1741, included an interval of eight or nineyears, during which time I have few adventures torelate; my life being as simple as it was agreeable.This uniformity was precisely what was mostwanting to complete the formation of my character,which continual troubles had prevented fromacquiring any degree of stability. It was during thispleasing interval, that my unconnected, unfinishededucation, gained consistence, and made me whatI have unalterably remained amid the storms withwhich I have since been surrounded.The progress was slow, almost imperceptible, andattended by few memorable circumstances; yet itdeserves to be followed and investigated.At first, I was wholly occupied with my business,the constraint of a desk left little opportunity forother thoughts, the small portion of time I was atliberty was passed with my dear Madam deWarrens, and not having leisure to read, I felt noinclination for it; but when my business (by dailyrepetition) became familiar, and my mind was lessoccupied, study again became necessary, and (asmy desires were ever irritated by any difficulty that
opposed the indulgence of them) might once morehave become a passion, as at my master's, hadnot other inclinations interposed and diverted it.Though our occupation did not demand a veryprofound skill in arithmetic, it sometimes requiredenough to puzzle me. To conquer this difficulty, Ipurchased books which treated on that science,and learned well, for I now studied alone. Practicalarithmetic extends further than is usually supposedif you would attain exact precision. There areoperations of extreme length in which I havesometimes seen good geometricians losethemselves. Reflection, assisted by practice, givesclear ideas, and enables you to devise shortermethods, these inventions flatter our self-complacency, while their exactitude satisfies ourunderstanding, and renders a study pleasant,which is, of itself, heavy and unentertaining. Atlength I became so expert as not to be puzzled byany question that was solvable by arithmeticalcalculation; and even now, while everything Iformerly knew fades daily on my memory, thisacquirement, in a great measure remains, throughan interval of thirty years. A few days ago, in ajourney I made to Davenport, being with my host atan arithmetical lesson given his children, I did (withpleasure, and without errors) a most complicatedwork. While setting down my figures, methought Iwas still at Chambery, still in my days of happiness—how far had I to look back for them!The colored plans of our geometricians had givenme a taste for drawing: accordingly I bought colors,
and began by attempting flowers and landscapes.It was unfortunate that I had not talents for this art,for my inclination was much disposed to it, andwhile surrounded with crayons, pencils, and colors,I could have passed whole months without wishingto leave them. This amusement engaged me somuch that they were obliged to force me from it;and thus it is with every inclination I give into, itcontinues to augment, till at length it becomes sopowerful, that I lose sight of everything except thefavorite amusement. Years have not been able tocure me of that fault, nay, have not evendiminished it; for while I am writing this, behold me,like an old dotard, infatuated with another, to meuseless study, which I do not understand, andwhich even those who have devoted their youthfuldays to the acquisition of, are constrained toabandon, at the age I am beginning with it.At that time, the study I am now speaking of wouldhave been well placed, the opportunity was good,and I had some temptation to profit by it; for thesatisfaction I saw in the eyes of Anet, when hecame home loaded with new discovered plants, setme two or three times on the point of going toherbalize with him, and I am almost certain thathad I gone once, I should have been caught, andperhaps at this day might have been an excellentbotanist, for I know no study more congenial to mynatural inclination, than that of plants; the life Ihave led for these ten years past, in the country,being little more than a continual herbalizing,though I must confess, without object, and withoutimprovement; but at the time I am now speaking of
I had no inclination for botany, nay, I evendespised, and was disgusted at the idea,considering it only as a fit study for an apothecary.Madam de Warrens was fond of it merely for thispurpose, seeking none but common plants to usein her medical preparations; thus botany,chemistry, and anatomy were confounded in myidea under the general denomination of medicine,and served to furnish me with pleasant sarcasmsthe whole day, which procured me, from time totime, a box on the ear, applied by Madam deWarrens. Besides this, a very contrary taste grewup with me, and by degrees absorbed all others;this was music. I was certainly born for thatscience, I loved it from my infancy, and it was theonly inclination I have constantly adhered to; but itis astonishing that what nature seemed to havedesigned me for should have cost so much painsto learn, and that I should acquire it so slowly, thatafter a whole life spent in the practice of this art, Icould never attain to sing with any certainty atsight. What rendered the study of music moreagreeable to me at that time, was, being able topractise it with Madam de Warrens. In otherrespects our tastes were widely different: this wasa point of coincidence, which I loved to avail myselfof. She had no more objection to this than myself. Iknew at that time almost as much of it as she did,and after two or three efforts, we could make shiftto decipher an air. Sometimes, when I saw herbusy at her furnace, I have said, "Here now is acharming duet, which seems made for the verypurpose of spoiling your drugs;" her answer wouldbe, "If you make me burn them, I'll make you eat
them:" thus disputing, I drew her to theharpsichord; the furnace was presently forgotten,the extract of juniper or wormwood calcined (whichI cannot recollect without transport), and thesescenes usually ended by her smearing my facewith the remains of them.Iet mmpaloy yemaesinlty  tboe f ilcl ounpj ecmtyu rleeids utrhea t hIo hurasd;  polneenty ofamusement, however, found room, that was wellworth all the rest.We lived in such a confined dungeon, that it wasnecessary sometimes to breathe the open air;Anet, therefore, engaged Madam de Warrens tohire a garden in the suburbs, both for this purposeand the convenience of rearing plants, etc.; to thisgarden was added a summer—house, which wasfurnished in the customary manner; we sometimesdined, and I frequently slept, there. Insensibly Ibecame attached to this little retreat, decorated itwith books and prints, spending part of my time inornamenting it during the absence of Madam deWarrens, that I might surprise her the moreagreeably on her return. Sometimes I quitted thisdear friend, that I might enjoy the uninterruptedpleasure of thinking on her; this was a caprice Ican neither excuse nor fully explain, I only knowthis really was the case, and therefore I avow it. Iremember Madam de Luxembourg told me oneday in raillery, of a man who used to leave hismistress that he might enjoy the satisfaction ofwriting to her; I answered, I could have been thisman; I might have added, That I had done the very