The Princesse de Ligne,(924) whose mother was an Englishwoman made a good observation to me last night. She said, “Je suis roi, je puis vous procurer de malheurs,” was plainly the stroke of an English pen. I said, then I had certainly not well imitated the character in which I wrote. You will say I am an old man to attack both Voltaire and Rousseau. It is true; but I shoot at their heel, at their vulnerable part.
I beg your pardon for taking up your time with these trifles. The day after to-morrow we go in cavalcade with the Duchess of Richmond to her audience;(925) I have got my cravat and shammy shoes. Adieu!
(923) How much Rousseau, who was naturally disposed to believe in plots and conspiracies against him, was annoyed by this jeu d’esprit, the reader will readily learn from the following letter, which he addressed to the editor of the London Chronicle shortly after his arrival in England:—
Wootton, 3d March 1766.
You have failed, Sir, in the respect which every private person owes to a crowned head, in attributing publicly to the King of Prussia a letter full of extravagance and malignity, of which, for these very reasons, you ought to have known be could not be the author. You have even dared to transcribe his signature, as if you had seen it written with his own hand. I inform you, Sir, this letter was fabricated at Paris; and what rends my heart is, that the impostor has accomplices in England. You owe to the King of Prussia, to truth, and to me, to print the letter which I write to you, and which I sign, as an atonement for a fault with which you would doubtless reproach yourself severely, if you knew to what a dark transaction you have rendered yourself accessory. I salute you Sir, very sincerely. Rousseau.
(924) The Princess de Ligne was a daughter of the Marquis de Megi`eres, by Miss Oglethorpe, sister of general Oglethorpe.-E.
(925) At Versailles, as ambassadress.