The Vicomte De Bragelonne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 712 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.

“That is true.”

“Well, has not M. Fouquet purchased a large garden at Saint-Mande, and do we not live here very tranquilly with him and his friends?”

“Yes, without doubt; unfortunately it is neither the garden nor the friends which constitute the resemblance.  Now, what likeness is there between the doctrine of Epicurus and that of M. Fouquet?”

“This — pleasure gives happiness.”


“Well, I do not think we ought to consider ourselves unfortunate, for my part, at least.  A good repast — vin de Joigny, which they have the delicacy to go and fetch for me from my favorite cabaret — not one impertinence heard during a supper an hour long, in spite of the presence of ten millionaires and twenty poets.”

“I stop you there.  You mentioned vin de Joigny, and a good repast; do you persist in that?”

“I persist, — anteco, as they say at Port Royal.”

“Then please to recollect that the great Epicurus lived, and made his pupils live, upon bread, vegetables, and water.”

“That is not certain,” said La Fontaine; “and you appear to me to be confounding Epicurus with Pythagoras, my dear Conrart.”

“Remember, likewise, that the ancient philosopher was rather a bad friend of the gods and the magistrates.”

“Oh! that is what I will not admit,” replied La Fontaine.  “Epicurus was like M. Fouquet.”

“Do not compare him to monsieur le surintendant,” said Conrart, in an agitated voice, “or you would accredit the reports which are circulating concerning him and us.”

“What reports?”

“That we are bad Frenchmen, lukewarm with regard to the king, deaf to the law.”

“I return, then, to my text,” said La Fontaine.  “Listen, Conrart, this is the morality of Epicurus, whom, besides, I consider, if I must tell you so, as a myth.  Antiquity is mostly mythical.  Jupiter, if we give a little attention to it, is life.  Alcides is strength.  The words are there to bear me out; Zeus, that is, zen, to live.  Alcides, that is, alce, vigor.  Well, Epicurus, that is mild watchfulness, that is protection; now who watches better over the state, or who protects individuals better than M. Fouquet does?”

“You talk etymology and not morality; I say that we modern Epicureans are indifferent citizens.”

“Oh!” cried La Fontaine,” if we become bad citizens, it is not through following the maxims of our master.  Listen to one of his principal aphorisms.”

“I — will.”

“Pray for good leaders.”


“Well! what does M. Fouquet say to us every day?  ’When shall we be governed?’ Does he say so?  Come, Conrart, be frank.”

“He says so, that is true.”

“Well, that is a doctrine of Epicurus.”

“Yes; but that is a little seditious, observe.”

“What! seditious to wish to be governed by good heads or leaders?”

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The Vicomte De Bragelonne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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