Of their parliaments and clergy I hear a good deal, and attend very little — I cannot take up any history in the middle, and was too sick of politics at home to enter into them here. In short, I have done with the world, and live in it rather than in a desert, like you. Few men can bear absolute retirement, and we English worst of all. We grow so humoursome, so obstinate and capricious, and so prejudiced, that it requires a fund of good-nature like yours not to grow morose. Company keeps our rind from growing too coarse and rough; and though at my return I design not to mix in public, I do not intend to be quite a recluse. My absence will put it in my power to take up or drop as much as I please. Adieu! I shall inquire about your commission of books, but having been arrived but ten days, have not yet had time. Need I say?—no I need not—that nobody can be more affectionately yours than, etc.
870) Le Kain was born at Paris in 1725, and died there in 1778. He was originally brought up a surgical instrument maker; but his dramatic talents having been made known to Voltaire, he took him under his instructions, and secured him an engagement at the Fran`cais, where he performed for the first time in 1750.-E.
(871) “Cet acteur,” says Baron de Grimm, “n’est presque jamais faux, mais malheureusement il a voix, figure, tout, contre lui. Une sensibilit`e forte et profonde, qui faisait disparaitre la laideur de ses traits sous le charme de l’expression dont elle les rendait susceptible, et ne laissait aper`cevoir que lea caract`ere et la passion dont son `ame `etait remplie, et lui donnait @ chaque instant de nouvelles formes et nouvel `etre."-E.
(872) See ant`e, p. 383, letter 245. Mademoiselle Clairon was born in 1723, and made her first appearance at Paris in 1743, in the character of Ph`edre. She died at Paris in 1803. Several of her letters to the British Roscius will be found in the Garrick Correspondence. On her acting, when in the Zenith of her reputation, Dr. Grimm passes the following judgment:—“Belle Clairon, vous avez beaucoup d’esprit: votre jeu est profond`ement raisonn`e; mais la passion a-t-elle le temps de raisoner? Vous n’avez ni naturel ni entrailles; vous ne d`echirez jamais les miennes; vous ne faites jamais couler mes pleurs; vous mettez des silences `a tout; vous voulez faire sentir chaque hemistiche; et lorsque tout fait effet dans votre jeu, je vois que la totalit`e de la sc`ene n’en fait plus aucun."-E.
Still, I have seen neither Madame d’Egmont nor the Duchess d’Aiguillon, who are in the country; but the latter comes to Paris to-morrow. Madame Chabot I called on last night. She Was not at home, but the H`otel de Carnavalet;(873) was; and I stopped on purpose to say an ave-maria before it. It is a very singular building, not at all in the French style, and looks like an ex voto raised to her honour by some of her foreign votaries. I don’t think her honoured half enough in her own country. I shall burn a little incense before your Cardinal’s heart,(874) Madam, `a votre intention.