I have received your letter by General Vernon, and another. to which I have writ an answer, but was disappointed of a conveyance I expected. You shall have it with additions, by the first messenger that goes; but I cannot send it by the post, as I have spoken very freely of some persons you name, in which we agree thoroughly. These few lines are only to tell you that I am not idle in writing to you.
I almost repent having come hither: for I like the way of life and many of the people so well, that I doubt I shall feel more regret at leaving Paris than I expected. It would sound vain to tell you the honours and distinctions I receive, and how much I am in fashion; yet when they come from the handsomest women in France, and the most respectable in point of character, can one help being a little proud? If I was twenty years younger, I should wish they were not quite so respectable. Madame de Brionne, whom I have never seen, and who was to have met me at supper last night at the charming Madame d’Egmont’s, sent me an invitation by the latter for Wednesday next. I was engaged, and hesitated. I was told, “Comment! savez-vous que c’est qu’elle ne feroit pas pour toute la France?” However, lest you should dread my returning a perfect old swain, I study my wrinkles, compare myself and my limbs to every plate of larks I see, and treat my understanding with at least as little mercy. Yet, do you know, my present fame is owing to a very trifling composition, but which has made incredible noise. I was one evening at Madame Geoffrin’s joking on Rousseau’s affectations and contradictions, and said some things that diverted them. When I came home, I Put them into a letter, and showed it next day to Helvetius and the Duc de Nivernois-, who were so pleased with it, that, after telling me some faults in the language, which you may be sure there were, they encouraged me to let it be seen. As you know I willingly laugh at mountebanks, political or literary, let their talents be ever so great, I was not averse. The copies have spread like wildfire; et me voici `a la mode! I expect the end of my reign at the end of the week with great composure. Here is the letter:—
LE ROI DE PRUSSE, A MONSIEUR ROUSSEAU.(923)
Mon ch`ere Jean Jacques, Vous avez renonc`e `a G`en`eve votre patrie; vous vous `etes fait chasser de la Suisse, pays tant vant`e dans vos `ecrits; la France vous a d`ecret`e. Venez done chez moi; j’admire vos talens; je m’amuse de vos r`everies, qui (soit dit en passant) vous occupent trop, et trop long tems. Il faut `a la fin `etre sage et heureux. Vous avez fait assez parler de vous par des singularit`es peu convenables `a un v`eritable grand homme. D`emontrez `a vos ennemis que vous pouvez avoir quelquefois le sens commun: cela les fachera, sans vous faire-