The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)


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The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library) HC DJ 1st/1st

The fact is, that M. Some of the people who were with me when the box arrived can certify this. They were even surprised at the smallness of the amount, for not long before, M. I cared so little about money that I scarcely knew the value of it. The Countess de la Guiche, who is still alive, can affirm that, upon coming to me to have her portrait painted and telling me that she could afford no more than a thousand francs, I answered that M. Lebrun wished me to do none for less than two thousand. My closest friends all know that M. Lebrun took all the money I earned, on the plea of investing it in his business.

I often had no more than six francs in my pocket and in the world. When in I painted the picture of the handsome Prince Lubomirskia, who was then grown up, his aunt, the Princess Lubomirska, remitted twelve thousand francs to me, out of which I begged M. Lebrun to let me keep forty; but he would not let me have even that, alleging that he needed the whole sum to liquidate a promissory note. My indifference to money no doubt proceeded from the fact that wealth was not necessary to me.

Since that which made my house pleasant required no extravagance, I always lived very economically. I spent very little on dress; I was even reproached for neglecting it, for I wore none but white dresses of muslin or lawn, and never wore elaborate gowns excepting for my sittings at Versailles.

My head-dress cost me nothing, because I did my hair myself, and most of the time I wore a muslin cap on my head, as may be seen from my portraits. One of my favourite distractions was going to the play, and I can vow that so many talented actors were on the Paris stage that many of them have had no successors. I remember perfectly having seen the renowned Lekain act, whose ugliness, monstrous as it was, was not apparent in all his parts. It sometimes happened that Mlle. Dumesnil acted through a portion of the play without producing any impression; then, all of a sudden, she would change; her gestures, her voice and her features all became so intensely tragic that she brought down the house.

I was assured that before coming on the stage she was in the habit of drinking a bottle of wine, and that another was held in reserve for her in the wings. The most brilliant first appearance I can remember was Mlle. Raucourt's in the part of Dido, when she was eighteen or twenty at the most.

The beauty of her face, her figure, her voice, her declamation — everything foreshadowed a perfect actress. To so many advantages she added an air of remarkable decency and a reputation of severe morals, which caused her to be sought after by our greatest ladies. She was presented with jewelry, with theatrical costumes, and with money for herself and her father, who was always with her.

Later on she changed her habits very much. Talma, our last great tragic actor, in my opinion surpassed all the others. There was genius in his acting. It may also be said that he revolutionised the art, in the first place through banishing the bombastic and affected style of delivery by his natural, sincere elocution, and secondly through bringing about an innovation in dress, attiring himself like a Greek or a Roman when he played Achilles or Brutus — for which I was heartily grateful to him.

Talma had one of the finest heads and one of the most mobile countenances imaginable, and, however impetuous his acting became, always kept dignified, which seems to me a prime quality in a tragic actor. He was a very good man, and the best tempered individual in the world. It was his custom to make no fuss in society; in order to make him respond, it needed something in the conversation which would stir one of his deepest interests, and then he was well worth listening to, particularly when he talked about his art. Comedy was perhaps better off still for talent than tragedy.

There, indeed, was the perfect, the inimitable artist! His acting, so clever, so natural, and so full of fun, was at the same time most varied. He would play in turn Crispin, Sosie, and Figaro, and you would not know it was the same man, so inexhaustible were his comic resources. Dugazon, his successor in humorous parts, would have been an excellent comedian if a desire to make the public laugh had not often led him into being farcical. He played certain parts of valets admirably. Dugazon behaved villainously in the Revolution: he was one of those who went for the King to Varennes, and an eyewitness told me that he had seen him at the carriage door with a gun on his shoulder.

Be it observed that this man had been overwhelmed with favours by the court, and especially by the Count d'Artois. I also witnessed Mlle. Contat's first appearance. She was extremely pretty and well made, but did her work so badly at first that no one foresaw what a fine actress she was to become. Her charming face was not sufficient to protect her from hisses when she played the part confided to her by Beaumarchais, of Susanna in "The Marriage of Figaro.

At a period when all of the great actors were beginning to age, a young talent arose that to-day is the ornament of the French stage: Mlle. Mars was then playing the parts of young girls in the most highly accomplished manner; she excelled in that of Victorine in "The Unwitting Philosopher," and in a dozen others in which she never had an equal. For it was impossible for any one else to be so true to life and so affecting; it was nature at its best.

Fortunately, that face, that figure, that bewitching voice are so perfectly preserved that Mlle. Mars has no age, nor, I believe, ever will have, and the public proves every night by its applause that it shares my opinion. I remember having seen Sophie Arnould twice at the opera, in "Castor and Pollux. As for her abilities as a singer, the music of that epoch disgusted me so that I did not listen to it enough to be able to speak about it now. Arnould was not pretty; her mouth spoiled her face; only her eyes conveyed the cleverness which made her famous.

A great number of her witty sayings have been passed round from mouth to mouth or printed. A woman whose superior gifts delighted us for a long time was Mlle. Arnould's successor. This was Mme. Saint Huberti, whom one must have heard in order to understand how far lyric tragedy can go.

Saint Huberti had not only a superb voice, but was also a great actress. Her good fate ordained that she should sing the operas of Piccini, Sacchini and Gluck, and all this music, so beautiful, so expressive, exactly suited her talent, which was full of significance, of sincerity and of nobility. She was not good-looking, but her face was entrancing because of its soulfulness. The Count d'Entraigues, a very fine, handsome man, and very distinguished through his intellect, fell in love with her and married her.

When the Revolution broke out they escaped to London together. It was there that one evening they were both murdered, without either the murderers or their motives ever being discovered. In the ballet, likewise noted for people with great capabilities, Gardel and Vestris the elder were first. Vestris was tall and imposing, and was not to be excelled in dances of the grave and sedate order.

I could not prescribe the grace with which he took off and put back his hat at the bow preceding the minuet. All the young women of the court took lessons from him, before their presentation, in making the three courtesies. Vestris the elder was succeeded by his son, the most astonishing dancer to be seen, such were his combined gracefulness and lightness.

Although our dancers of the present day by no means spare us their pirouettes, certainly no one could ever do as many as he did. He would suddenly rise toward the sky in such a marvellous manner that one thought he must have wings, and this made old Vestris say, "If my son touches the ground it is only from politeness to his colleagues. Guimard had another sort of talent altogether. Her dancing was only a sketch; she did nothing but take short steps, but executed them with such fascinating motions that the public awarded her the palm over all other female dancers.

She was short, slight, very well shaped, and, although plain, her features were such that at the age of forty-five she looked no more than fifteen when on the stage. Never has such reality been seen upon the stage. The actress disappeared, and gave place to the actual Babet, Countess d'Albert, or Nicolette. Her voice was rather weak, but it was strong enough for laughter, for tears, for all situations, for all parts.

No one ever again played Nina like her — Nina, so decent and so passionate at once, and so unhappy and so touching that the mere sight of her made the audience shed tears. Dugazon was a royalist, heart and soul. Of this she gave the public a proof, when the Revolution was well advanced, in playing the part of the maid in "Unforeseen Events. Dugazon, whose answer was "Ah, how I love my mistress! I was told that the public — and such a public — afterward sought revenge by attempting to make her sing some horrible thing which had come into vogue and was often heard in the theatres.

But Mme. Dugazon would not yield. She left the stage. I cannot recall a certain incident without laughing, though it annoyed me considerably at the time. During Mme. Another noted country estate, Gennevilliers, belonged to the Count de Vaudreuil, one of the most amiable of men. The Count de Vaudreuil had bought this property largely for His Highness the Count d'Artois, because it included fine hunting-grounds. The purchaser had done much to embellish the place. The house was furnished in the best taste, and without ostentation; there was a small but charming theatre in the house, where my sister-in-law, my brother, M.

Dugazon, and Garat, Cailleau, and Laruette. The Count d'Artois and his company witnessed our performances. Contat was delightful in the part of Suzanne. Dialogue, couplets, and all the rest were aimed against the court, of which a large part was present. This extravagance benefited no one, but Beaumarchais was none the less intoxicated with joy. As there were complaints of the heat, he allowed no time for the windows to be opened, but smashed all the panes with his walking-stick. The Count de Vaudreuil came to repent of having given his patronage to the "Marriage of Figaro.

This being at once granted, he arrived at Versailles at such an early hour that the Count had only just got up. The dramatist then broached a financial project which he had hatched out, and which was to bring in a vast fortune. He concluded by proposing to hand over to M. The Count listened quite calmly, and when Beaumarchais finished speaking, answered: "M.

If you had made such a proposition to me yesterday I would have thrown you out of the window. Another fine country place I visited was Villette. The Marquise de Villette, nicknamed Lovely and Lovable, having invited me, I went to pass a few days there. On one occasion we found a man painting fences in the park.

This painter was working with such expedition that M. I dined several times at Saint Ouen, with the Duke de Nivernais, who owned a very handsome residence there, and who gathered about him the most agreeable company it was possible to meet. The Duke, always praised for his elegant and pointed wit, had manners that were dignified and gentle and without the slightest affectation. He was particularly distinguished for his extreme civility to women of all ages. In this respect I might speak of him as a model of whom I would never have found a copy if I had not known the Count de Vaudreuil, who, much younger than the Duke de Nivernais, added to his refined gallantry a politeness that was the more flattering since it came from the heart.

In fact, it is very difficult to convey an idea to-day of the urbanity, the graceful ease, in a word the affability of manner which made the charm of Parisian society forty years ago. The women reigned then; the Revolution dethroned them. The Duke de Nivernais was very small and very lean. Although very old when I knew him, he was still full of life; he was passionately fond of poetry, and wrote charming verses. I also dined frequently at the Marshal de Noailles's, in his fine mansion situated at the entrance to Saint Germain. There was then an immense park there, admirably kept.

The Marshal was highly sociable; his cleverness and good spirits infected all his guests, whom he selected from among the literary celebrities and the most distinguished people of the town and the court. It was in that I went for the first time to Louveciennes, where I had promised to paint Mme. Du Barry. She might then have been about forty-five years old. She was tall without being too much so; she had a certain roundness, her throat being rather pronounced but very beautiful; her face was still attractive, her features were regular and graceful; her hair was ashy, and curly like a child's.

But her complexion was beginning to fade. She received me with much courtesy, and seemed to me very well behaved, but I found her more spontaneous in mind than in manner: her glance was that of a coquette, for her long eyes were never quite open, and her pronunciation had something childish which no longer suited her age. She lodged me in a part of the building where I was greatly put out by the continual noise. Under my room was a gallery, sadly neglected, in which busts, vases, columns, the rarest marbles, and a quantity of other valuable articles were displayed without system or order.

These remains of luxury contrasted with the simplicity adopted by the mistress of the house, with her dress and her mode of life. Summer and winter Mme. Du Barry wore only a dressing-robe of cotton cambric or white muslin, and every day, whatever the weather might be, she walked in her park, or outside of it, without ever incurring disastrous consequences, so sturdy had her health become through her life in the country.

She had maintained no relations with the numerous court that surrounded her so long. In the evening we were usually alone at the fireside, Mme. Du Barry and I. She sometimes talked to me about Louis XV. She showed herself a worthy person by her actions as well as her words, and did a great deal of good at Louvecienes, where she helped all the poor. Every day after dinner we took coffee in the pavilion which was so famous for its rich and tasteful decorations. The first time Mme. There was a gallery above for musicians and singers who performed during the meal.

When Mme. Du Barry went to England, before the Terror, to get back her stolen diamonds, which, in fact, she recovered there, the English received her very well. They did all they could to prevent her from returning to but France. But it was not long before she succumbed to the fate in store for everybody who had some possessions.

She was informed against and betrayed by a little Negro called Zamore, who is mentioned in all the memoirs of the period as having been overwhelmed with kindness by her and Louis XV. Being arrested and thrown into prison, Mme. Du Barry was tried and condemned to death by the Revolutionary tribunal at the end of She was the only woman, among all who perished in those dreadful days, unable to face the scaffold with firmness; she screamed, she sued for pardon to the hideous mob surrounding her, and that mob became moved to such a degree that the executioner hastened to finish his task.

This has always confirmed my belief that if the victims of that period of execrable memory had not had the noble pride of dying with fortitude the Terror would have ceased long before it did. I made three portraits of Mme. In the first I painted her at half length, in a dressing-gown and straw hat. In the second she is dressed in white satin; she holds a wreath in one hand, and one of her arms is leaning on a pedestal. The third portrait I made of Mme. Du Barry is in my own possession. I began it about the middle of September, I hoped to be able to return to Louveciennes to finish my work, but heard that Berthier and Foulon had been murdered.

Iwas now frightened beyond measure, and thenceforth thought of nothing but leaving France. The fearful year was well advanced, and all decent people were already seized with terror. I remember perfectly that one evening when I had gathered some friends about me for a concert, most of the arrivals came into the room with looks of consternation; they had been walking at Longchamps that morning, and the populace assembled at the Etoile gate had cursed at those who passed in carriages in a dreadful manner.

Some of the wretches had clambered on the carriage steps, shouting, "Next year you will be behind your carriages and we shall be inside! As for myself, I had little need to learn fresh details in order to foresee what horrors impended. I knew beyond doubt that my house in the Rue Gros Chenet, where I had settled but three months since, had been singled out by the criminals. They threw sulphur into our cellars through the airholes.

If I happened to be at my window, vulgar ruffians would shake their fists at me. Numberless sinister rumours reached me from every side; in fact, I now lived in a state of continual anxiety and sadness. My health became sensibly affected, and two of my best friends, the architect Brongniart and his wife, when they came to see me, found me so thin and so changed that they besought me to come and spend a few days with them, which invitation I thankfully accepted.

There I was given everything of the best. As I was unable to eat, I was nourished on excellent Burgundy wine and soup, and Mme. Brongniart was in constant attendance upon me. All this solicitude ought to have quieted me, especially as my friends took a less black view of things than I did.

Nevertheless, they did not succeed in banishing my evil forebodings. But I must acknowledge that even with the furthest stretch of my imagination I guessed only at a fraction of the crimes that were to be committed. I remember having supped at the Brongniarts's with His Excellence M. He brought us the news that an attempt was threatening to take the arms that he had in reserve, "But," he added, "I have hidden them so well that I defy any one to find them.

As the arms were very soon abstracted, it seems evident that he was betrayed by some of the servants in his employ. The murderers gave him his life at the tears of supplication of his heroic daughter, but, villainous even in granting pardon, they compelled Mlle. For a long time afterward the sight of anything with red colour made this unfortunate young woman vomit horribly. Some years later in M. I had made up my mind to leave France.

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For some years I had cherished the desire to go to Rome. The large number of portraits I had engaged to paint had, however, hindered me from putting my plan into execution. But I could now paint no longer; my broken spirit, bruised with so many horrors, shut itself entirely to my art. Besides, dreadful slanders were pouring upon my friends, my acquaintances and myself, although, Heaven knows, I had never hurt a living soul. I thought like the man who said, "I am accused of having stolen the towers of Notre Dame; they are still in their usual place, but I am going away, as I am evidently to blame.

At the same time I refused to paint Mlle. She was scarcely sixteen, and very charming, but it was no longer a question of success or money — it was only a question of saving one's head. I had my carriage loaded, and my passport ready, so that I might leave next day with my daughter and her governess, when a crowd of national guardsmen burst into my room with their muskets. Most of them were drunk and shabby, and had terrible faces. A few of them came up to me and told me in the coarsest language that I must not go, but that I must remain. I answered that since everybody had been called upon to enjoy his liberty, I intended to make use of mine.

They would barely listen to me, and kept on repeating, "You will not go, citizeness; you will not go! I was plunged into a state of cruel anxiety when I saw two of them return. But they did not frighten me, although they belonged to the gang, so quickly did I recognise that they wished me no harm. You cannot live here; you are changed so much that we feel sorry for you. But do not go in your carriage: go in the stage-coach; it is much safer. I had three places reserved, as I still wanted to take my daughter, who was then five or six years old, but was unable to secure them until a fortnight later, because all who exiled themselves chose the stagecoach, like myself.

At last came the long-expected day. It was the 5th of October, and the King and Queen were conducted from Versailles to Paris surrounded by pikes. The events of that day filled me with uneasiness as to the fate of Their Majesties and that of all decent people, so that I was dragged to the stage-coach at midnight in a dreadful state of mind.

My brother and my husband escorted me as far as this gate without leaving the door of the coach for a moment; but the suburb that I was so frightened of was perfectly quiet. All its inhabitants, the workmen and the rest, had been to Versailles after the royal family, and fatigue kept them all in bed. Opposite me in the coach was a very filthy man, who stunk like the plague, and told me quite simply that he had stolen watches and other things.

Luckily he saw nothing about me to tempt him, for I was only taking a small amount of clothing and eighty louis for my journey. I had left my principal effects and my jewels in Paris, and the fruit of my labours was in the hands of my husband, who spent it all. I lived abroad solely on the proceeds of my painting. Not satisfied with relating his fine exploits to us, the thief talked incessantly of stringing up such and such people on lamp-posts, naming a number of my own acquaintances. My daughter thought this man very wicked.

He frightened her, and this gave me the courage to say, "I beg you, sir, not to talk of killing before this child. On the bench I occupied there also sat a mad Jacobin from Grenoble, about fifty years old, with an ugly, bilious complexion, who each time we stopped at an inn for dinner or supper made violent speeches of the most fearful kind. At all of the towns a crowd of people stopped the coach to learn the news from Paris.

Our Jacobin would then exclaim: "Everything is going well, children! We have the baker and his wife safe in Paris. A constitution will be drawn up, they will be forced to accept it, and then it will be all over. All this made my journey a very melancholy one. I had no further fears for myself, but I feared greatly for every body else — for my mother, for my brother, and for my friends.

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I also had the gravest apprehensions concerning Their Majesties, for all along the route, nearly as far as Lyons, men on horseback rode up to the coach to tell us that the King and Queen had been killed and that Paris was on fire. My poor little girl got all a-tremble; she thought she saw her father dead and our house burned down, and no sooner had I succeeded in reassuring her than another horseman appeared and told us the same stories.

I cannot describe the emotions I felt in passing over the Beauvoisin Bridge. Then only did I breathe freely. I had left France behind, that France which nevertheless was the land of my birth, and which I reproached myself with quitting with so much satisfaction. The sight of the mountains, however, distracted me from all my sad thoughts. I had never seen high mountains before; those of the Savoy seemed to touch the sky, and seemed to mingle with it in a thick vapour. My first sensation was that of fear, but I unconsciously accustomed myself to the spectacle, and ended by admiring it.

A certain part of the road completely entranced me; I seemed to see the "Gallery of the Titans," and I have always called it so since. Wishing to enjoy all these beauties as fully as possible, I got down from the coach, but after walking some way I was seized with a great fright, for there were explosions being made with gunpowder, which had the effect of a thousand cannon shots, and the din echoing from rock to rock was truly infernal. I went up Mount Cenis, as other strangers were doing, when a postilion approached me, saying, "The lady ought to take a mule; to climb up on foot is too fatiguing.

Lebrun, who paints so well, and we are all very glad to see you safe from those bad people. Happily I had no occasion to fear them any longer. No sooner had I arrived at Rome than I did a portrait of myself for the Florence gallery. I painted myself palette in hand before a canvas on which I was tracing a figure of the Queen in white crayon. After that I painted Miss Pitt, who was sixteen and extremely pretty. I represented her as Hebe, on some clouds, holding in her hand a goblet from which an eagle was about to drink. I did the eagle from life, and I thought he would eat me.

He belonged to Cardinal de Bernis. The wretched beast, accustomed to being in the open air — for he was kept on a chain in the courtyard — was so enraged at finding himself in my room that he tried to fly at me. I admit that I was dreadfully frightened. About this time I painted the portrait of a Polish lady, the Countess Potocka. She came with her husband, and after he had gone away she said to me quite coolly, "He is my third husband, but I am thinking of taking back my first, who would suit me better, although he is a drunkard. The pleasure of living in Rome was the only thing that consoled me for having left my country, my family, and so many friends I loved.

My work did not deprive me of the daily diversion of going about the city and its surroundings. I always went alone to the palaces where collections of pictures and statues were exhibited, so as not to have my enjoyment spoiled by stupid remarks or questions. All these palaces are open to strangers, and much gratitude is due to the great Roman nobles for being so obliging.

It may seem hard to believe, but it is true that one might spend one's whole life in the palaces and churches. In the churches are to be found great treasures of painting and extraordinary monuments. The wealth of St. Peter's in this respect is well known. The finest of the churches regarding architecture is St. Paul's, whose interior is lined with columns on each side. One can have no idea of the grand and imposing effect of the Catholic religion unless one can see Rome during Lent. On Easter Day I took good care to be in the square of St. Peter's to see the Pope give his blessing.

Nothing could have been more solemn. The immense square was filled at early morning by peasants and by the inhabitants of the town, in all sorts of different costumes — bright and varied in colour — and there were also a large number of pilgrims. They all stood as still as the superb obelisk of Oriental granite in the middle of the square. At ten o'clock the Pope arrived, clothed all in white, his crown on his head. He took his place in the centre stand outside the church on a magnificent high velvet throne.

The Cardinals surrounded him, clad in their handsome dress. It must be said that Pope Pius VI. His healthy face showed no sign of the wear and tear of old age. His hands were white and plump. He knelt down to read his prayer. Afterward, rising up, he gave a double blessing in speaking these words, " Urbi et Orbi. The blessing given, the Cardinals threw a quantity of papers down from the gallery, and these, I was told, were indulgences. Thousands of hands shot upward to grasp them. The eagerness and the excitement of this crowd, its pressing and pushing, were beyond description.

When the Pope withdrew, the regimental bands intoned a flourish, and the troops then marched off to the rattle of drums. In the evening the dome of St. Peter's was illuminated, first with lights under coloured glasses, and then with white lights of greatest brilliancy. It was difficult to conceive how the change could be effected with such rapidity; however, the spectacle was as beautiful as it was remarkable. The same evening, too, gorgeous fireworks were set off at the castle of St. Myriads of bombs and fire balloons were sent into the air; the final display was the most magnificent to be seen of the kind, and the reflection of these splendid fireworks in the Tiber doubled their effect.

In Rome, where everything is grand, the great mansions have no wretched lamps before them, but each palace is provided with enormous candelabras, from which stream gigantic flames that shed day, so to speak, over the whole city. This luxurious manner of lighting strikes a stranger the more as the streets of Rome are mostly illuminated by the lamps burning in front of the Madonnas.

Strangers are attracted to Rome far more by Holy Week than by the carnival, at which I was not surprised. The masqueraders establish themselves in tiers, disguised as harlequins, as pulcinellos, etc. I saw only a single young man going about the streets after the French fashion. He was giving a lifelike imitation of a very affected exquisite whom we had no difficulty in recognising.

The carriages and wagons come and go full of richly costumed people. The horses are adorned with feathers, ribbons, and bells, the servants being dressed up as Scaramouche or Harlequin, but it all passes off in the quietest way in the world. Finally, toward evening, several discharges of cannon announce the horse-races, which enliven the rest of the day. There is no town in the world where one could pass one's time as delightfully as in Rome, even were one deprived of all the resources which good society offers. The walks within the walls are a joy, for one is never tired of revisiting the Coliseum, the Capitol, the Pantheon, the square of St.

Peter's with its colonnades, its superb obelisk, and its lovely fountains, across which the rays of the sun often throw beautiful rainbows. The square is wonderfully impressive at sunset and in the moonlight. Whether it was on my way or not, I always took pleasure in crossing it. What astonished me very much in Rome was to find at the Coliseum, on Sunday mornings, a crowd of women from the lowest classes, extravagantly bedizened, loaded with ornaments, and wearing in their ears enormous stars of paste diamonds.

It was also in this garb that they went to church, frequently followed by a domestic, who very often was no other than their husband, his real occupation being probably that of a valet. These women do nothing at home; their idleness is such that they live in the greatest want. They may be seen at their windows in the streets of Rome, with flowers and feathers on their head, their faces made up with cosmetics. The upper part of their dress, which is visible, indicates great luxury, so that one is surprised, upon entering their rooms, to find that they have on nothing more than a dirty petticoat.

The Roman dames whom I mention nevertheless enact aristocratic parts, and when the time comes to go to the villas they carefully close their shutters in order to create the belief that they have left for the country. I was assured that every woman in Rome was in the habit of carrying a dagger. I do not, however, believe that the great ladies wear any, but certain it is that the wife of Denis, the landscape painter, with whom I lodged, and who was a Roman, showed me the dagger which she always had about her. As for the men of the people, they are never unprovided with one, and this brings about a number of grave tragedies.

Three evenings after my arrival, for instance, I heard in my street some shouts followed by a great tumult. I sent out to learn what the matter was, and was informed that a man had just killed another with his dagger. As these peculiar habits made me very much afraid, I was assured that strangers had nothing to fear — that it was simply a question of an act of revenge between Italians. As for the case in point, the murderer and his victim had quarrelled ten years ago, and the first, having recognised his enemy, at once struck him down with his dagger, which proves how long an Italian can keep a grudge.

Certainly the customs of the upper class are milder, since high society is very much the same all over Europe. However, I am not the best judge, as with the exception of relations involving my art, and invitations sent to me for numerous parties, I had little occasion to become acquainted with the patrician ladies of Rome. What happened to me was what naturally happens to every exile, which was to seek the company of my own countrymen.

In and Rome was full of French refugees, whom I knew for the greater part, and with whom I soon made friends. We saw the Princess Joseph de Monaco and the Duchess de Fleury arrive, and a host of other notabilities. The Princess Joseph de Monaco had a charming face, and was very sweet and charming. Unfortunately for her, she did not stay in Rome. She returned to Paris to attend to the small amount of property remaining to her children, and she was there during the Terror.

Thrown into prison and condemned to death, she was taken to the scaffold. The arrival at Rome of so many people bringing so much news made me undergo different emotions every day. No one knew to-day what his notes would be worth to-morrow. It is inconceivable to those who were witnesses of the horrors of those times, and who look back upon them now as on a dream, that a sudden revolution did not break out—that Law and the regent did not perish by a tragical death.

Seditious writings were posted up against the walls, and were sent, in hand-bills, to the houses of the most conspicuous people. You are desired not to stir out, nor you, nor your servants. God preserve you from the flames! Give notice to your neighbours. Dated, Saturday, May 25th, The value of shares in the Louisiana, or Mississippi stock, had fallen very rapidly, and few indeed were found to believe the tales that had once been told of the immense wealth of that region. A last effort was therefore tried to restore the public confidence in the Mississippi project.

For this purpose, a general conscription of all the poor wretches in Paris was made by order of government. Upwards of six thousand of the very refuse of the population were impressed, as if in time of war, and were provided with clothes and tools to be embarked for New Orleans, to work in the gold mines alleged to abound there. They were paraded day after day through the streets with their pikes and shovels, and then sent off in small detachments to the out-ports to be shipped for America.

Two-thirds of them never reached their destination, but dispersed themselves over the country, sold their tools for what they could get, and returned to their old course of life. In less than three weeks afterwards, one-half of them were to be found again in Paris. Many persons of superabundant gullibility believed that operations had begun in earnest in the new Golconda, and that gold and silver ingots would again be found in France.

In a constitutional monarchy some surer means would have been found for the restoration of public credit. In England, at a subsequent period, when a similar delusion had brought on similar distress, how different were the measures taken to repair the evil; but in France, unfortunately, the remedy was left to the authors of the mischief.

The arbitrary will of the regent, which endeavoured to extricate the country, only plunged it deeper into the mire. All payments were ordered to be made in paper, and between the 1st of February and the end of May, notes were fabricated to the amount of upwards of millions of livres, or 60,, l. But the alarm once sounded, no art could make the people feel the slightest confidence in paper which was not exchangeable into metal. Lambert, the president of the parliament of Paris, told the regent to his face that he would rather have a hundred thousand livres in gold or silver than five millions in the notes of his bank.

When such was the general feeling, the superabundant issues of paper but increased the evil, by rendering still more enormous the disparity between the amount of specie and notes in circulation. Coin, which it was the object of the regent to depreciate, rose in value on every fresh attempt to diminish it.

In February, it was judged advisable that the Royal Bank should be incorporated with the Company of the Indies. An edict to that effect was published and registered by the parliament. The state remained the guarantee for the notes of the bank, and no more were to be issued without an order in council. This measure had the effect of raising for a short time the value of the Louisiana and other shares of the company, but it failed in placing public credit on any permanent basis.

It was then computed that the total amount of notes in circulation was millions of livres, while the coin in the country was not quite equal to half that amount. It was evident to the majority of the council that some plan must be adopted to equalise the currency. Some proposed that the notes should be reduced to the value of the specie, while others proposed that the nominal value of the specie should be raised till it was on an equality with the paper. Law is said to have opposed both these projects, but failing in suggesting any other, it was agreed that the notes should be depreciated one half.

On the 21st of May, an edict was accordingly issued, by which it was decreed that the shares of the Company of the Indies, and the notes of the bank, should gradually diminish in value, till at the end of a year they should only pass current for one-half of their nominal worth.

The parliament refused to register the edict—the greatest outcry was excited, and the state of the country became so alarming, that, as the only means of preserving tranquillity, the council of the regency was obliged to stultify its own proceedings, by publishing within seven days another edict, restoring the notes to their original value. On the same day the 27th of May the bank stopped payment in specie. The weak, vacillating, and cowardly regent threw the blame of all the mischief upon Law, who, upon presenting himself at the Palais Royal, was refused admittance.

At nightfall, however, he was sent for, and admitted into the palace by a secret door, 12 when the regent endeavoured to console him, and made all manner of excuses for the severity with which in public he had been compelled to treat him. So capricious was his conduct, that, two days afterwards, he took him publicly to the opera, where he sat in the royal box alongside of the regent, who treated him with marked consideration in face of all the people. But such was the hatred against Law that the experiment had well nigh proved fatal to him. The mob assailed his carriage with stones just as he was entering his own door; and if the coachman had not made a sudden jerk into the court-yard, and the domestics closed the gate immediately, he would, in all probability, have been dragged out and torn to pieces.

On the following day, his wife and daughter were also assailed by the mob as they were returning in their carriage from the races. When the regent was informed of these occurrences he sent Law a strong detachment of Swiss guards, who were stationed night and day in the court of his residence. The public indignation at last increased so much, that Law, finding his own house, even with this guard, insecure, took refuge in the Palais Royal, in the apartments of the regent.

The regent acknowledged too late, that he had treated with unjustifiable harshness and mistrust one of the ablest, and perhaps the sole honest public man of that corrupt period. He had retired ever since his disgrace to his country house at Fresnes, where, in the midst of severe but delightful philosophic studies, he had forgotten the intrigues of an unworthy court. On his arrival in Paris, five counsellors of the parliament were admitted to confer with the Commissary of Finance; and on the 1st of June an order was published abolishing the law which made it criminal to amass coin to the amount of more than five hundred livres.

Every one was permitted to have as much specie as he pleased. In order that the bank-notes might be withdrawn, twenty-five millions of new notes were created, on the security of the revenues of the city of Paris, at two-and-a-half per cent. The new notes were principally of the value of ten livres each; and on the 10th of June the bank was re-opened, with a sufficiency of silver coin to give in change for them. These measures were productive of considerable advantage. All the population of Paris hastened to the bank to get coin for their small notes; and silver becoming scarce, they were paid in copper.

Very few complained that this was too heavy, although poor fellows might be continually seen toiling and sweating along the streets, laden with more than they could comfortably carry, in the shape of change for fifty livres. The crowds around the bank were so great, that hardly a day passed that some one was not pressed to death. On the 9th of July, the multitude was so dense and clamorous that the guards stationed at the entrance of the Mazarin Gardens closed the gate and refused to admit any more. The crowd became incensed, and flung stones through the railings upon the soldiers.

The latter, incensed in their turn, threatened to fire upon the people. At that instant one of them was hit by a stone, and, taking up his piece, he fired into the crowd. One man fell dead immediately, and another was severely wounded. It was every instant expected that a general attack would have been commenced upon the bank; but the gates of the Mazarin Gardens being opened to the crowd, who saw a whole troop of soldiers, with their bayonets fixed ready to receive them, they contented themselves by giving vent to their indignation in groans and hisses. Eight days afterwards the concourse of people was so tremendous that fifteen persons were squeezed to death at the doors of the bank.

The people were so indignant that they took three of the bodies on stretchers before them, and proceeded, to the number of seven or eight thousand, to the gardens of the Palais Royal, that they might shew the regent the misfortunes that he and Law had brought upon the country. The mob immediately set upon him, and thinking that Law was in the carriage, broke it to pieces. The imprudent coachman narrowly escaped with his life. No further mischief was done; a body of troops making their appearance, the crowd quietly dispersed, after an assurance had been given by the regent that the three bodies they had brought to shew him should be decently buried at his own expense.

The parliament was sitting at the time of this uproar, and the president took upon himself to go out and see what was the matter. Much, undoubtedly, depended on the credit of the Company of the Indies, which was answerable for so great a sum to the nation. It was therefore suggested in the council of the ministry, that any privileges which could be granted to enable it to fulfil its engagements, would be productive of the best results. With this end in view, it was proposed that the exclusive privilege of all maritime commerce should be secured to it, and an edict to that effect was published.

But it was unfortunately forgotten that by such a measure all the merchants of the country would be ruined. The idea of such an immense privilege was generally scouted by the nation, and petition on petition was presented to the parliament that they would refuse to register the decree. They refused accordingly, and the regent, remarking that they did nothing but fan the flame of sedition, exiled them to Blois.

They made every arrangement for rendering their temporary exile as agreeable as possible. The president gave the most elegant suppers, to which he invited all the gayest and wittiest company of Paris. Every night there was a concert and ball for the ladies. The usually grave and solemn judges and councillors joined in cards and other diversions, leading for several weeks a life of the most extravagant pleasure, for no other purpose than to shew the regent of how little consequence they deemed their banishment, and that, when they willed it, they could make Pontoise a pleasanter residence than Paris.

Of all the nations in the world the French are the most renowned for singing over their grievances. Of that country it has been remarked with some truth, that its whole history may be traced in its songs. When Law, by the utter failure of his best-laid plans, rendered himself obnoxious, satire of course seized hold upon him; and while caricatures of his person appeared in all the shops, the streets resounded with songs, in which neither he nor the regent was spared.

Many of these songs were far from decent; and one of them in particular counselled the application of all his notes to the most ignoble use to which paper can be applied. But the following, preserved in the letters of the Duchess of Orleans, was the best and the most popular, and was to be heard for months in all the carrefours in Paris. The application of the chorus is happy enough:. Those who are drawing the car are impersonations of the Mississippi, with his wooden leg, the South Sea, the Bank of England, the Company of the West of Senegal, and of various assurances.

Lest the car should not roll fast enough, the agents of these companies, known by their long fox-tails and their cunning looks, turn round the spokes of the wheels, upon which are marked the names of the several stocks and their value, sometimes high and sometimes low, according to the turns of the wheel. Upon the ground are the merchandise, day-books and ledgers of legitimate commerce, crushed under the chariot of Folly. Behind is an immense crowd of persons, of all ages, sexes, and conditions, clamoring after Fortune, and fighting with each other to get a portion of the shares which she distributes so bountifully among them.

Right in the pathway of the car, and blocking up the passage, stands a large building, with three doors, through one of which it must pass, if it proceeds farther, and all the crowd along with it. While this excitement lasted, Law took good care not to expose himself unguarded in the streets. Shut up in the apartments of the regent, he was secure from all attack; and whenever he ventured abroad, it was either incognito , or in one of the royal carriages, with a powerful escort.

An amusing anecdote is recorded of the detestation in which he was held by the people, and the ill-treatment he would have met had he fallen into their hands. A gentleman of the name of Boursel was passing in his carriage down the Rue St. Antoine, when his farther progress was stayed by a hackney-coach that had blocked up the road. A crowd was soon drawn together by the disturbance, and M. Boursel got out of the carriage to restore order. Here are Law and his servant going to kill me! Happily for M.

Boursel and his servant, the door of the church of the Jesuits stood wide open, and, seeing the fearful odds against them, they rushed towards it with all speed. They reached the altar, pursued by the people, and would have been ill-treated even there, if, finding the door open leading to the sacristy, they had not sprang through, and closed it after them.

The mob were then persuaded to leave the church by the alarmed and indignant priests, and finding M. The twenty-five millions secured on the municipal revenues of the city of Paris, bearing so low an interest as two and a half per cent, were not very popular among the large holders of Mississippi stock. On the 15th of August, with a view to hasten the conversion, an edict was passed, declaring that all notes for sums between one thousand and ten thousand livres, should not pass current, except for the purchase of annuities and bank accounts, or for the payment of instalments still due on the shares of the company.

In October following another edict was passed, depriving these notes of all value whatever after the month of November next ensuing. The management of the mint, the farming of the revenue, and all the other advantages and privileges of the India, or Mississippi Company, were taken from them, and they were reduced to a mere private company.

This was the death-blow to the whole system, which had now got into the hands of its enemies. Law had lost all influence in the Council of Finance, and the company, being despoiled of its immunities, could no longer hold out the shadow of a prospect of being able to fulfil its engagements. All those suspected of illegal profits at the time the public delusion was at its height, were sought out and amerced in heavy fines.

It was previously ordered that a list of the original proprietors should be made out, and that such persons as still retained their shares should place them in deposit with the company, and that those who had neglected to complete the shares for which they had put down their names, should now purchase them of the company, at the rate of 13, livres for each share of livres. Rather than submit to pay this enormous sum for stock which was actually at a discount, the shareholders packed up all their portable effects, and endeavoured to find a refuge in foreign countries.

Orders were immediately issued to the authorities at the ports and frontiers, to apprehend all travellers who sought to leave the kingdom, and keep them in custody, until it was ascertained whether they had any plate or jewellery with them, or were concerned in the late stock-jobbing. Against such few as escaped, the punishment of death was recorded, while the most arbitrary proceedings were instituted against those who remained.

Law himself, in a moment of despair, determined to leave a country where his life was no longer secure. He at first only demanded permission to retire from Paris to one of his country-seats—a permission which the regent cheerfully granted. His eyes were opened to his own errors; and during the few remaining years of his life he constantly longed for an opportunity of again establishing the system upon a securer basis. I committed them because I am a man, and all men are liable to error; but I declare to you most solemnly that none of them proceeded from wicked or dishonest motives, and that nothing of the kind will be found in the whole course of my conduct.

Two or three days after his departure the regent sent him a very kind letter, permitting him to leave the kingdom whenever he pleased, and stating that he had ordered his passports to be made ready. He at the same time offered him any sum of money he might require. Law respectfully declined the money, and set out for Brussels in a post-chaise belonging to Madame de Prie, the mistress of the Duke of Bourbon, escorted by six horse-guards.

From thence he proceeded to Venice, where he remained for some months, the object of the greatest curiosity to the people, who believed him to be the possessor of enormous wealth. No opinion, however, could be more erroneous. With more generosity than could have been expected from a man who during the greatest part of his life had been a professed gambler, he had refused to enrich himself at the expense of a ruined nation. During the height of the popular frenzy for Mississippi stock, he had never doubted of the final success of his projects in making France the richest and most powerful nation of Europe.

He invested all his gains in the purchase of landed property in France—a sure proof of his own belief in the stability of his schemes. He had hoarded no plate or jewellery, and sent no money, like the dishonest jobbers, to foreign countries. His all, with the exception of one diamond, worth about five or six thousand pounds sterling, was invested in the French soil; and when he left that country, he left it almost a beggar.

This fact alone ought to rescue his memory from the charge of knavery, so often and so unjustly brought against him. As soon as his departure was known, all his estates and his valuable library were confiscated. Among the rest, an annuity of , livres l. Great discontent existed among the people that Law had been suffered to escape. The mob and the parliament would have been pleased to have seen him hanged. The few who had not suffered by the commercial revolution rejoiced that the quack had left the country; but all those and they were by far the most numerous class whose fortunes were implicated regretted that his intimate knowledge of the distress of the country, and of the causes that had led to it, had not been rendered more available in discovering a remedy.

At a meeting of the Council of Finance and the General Council of the Regency, documents were laid upon the table, from which it appeared that the amount of notes in circulation was millions. The regent was called upon to explain how it happened that there was a discrepancy between the dates at which these issues were made and those of the edicts by which they were authorised. He might have safely taken the whole blame upon himself, but he preferred that an absent man should bear a share of it; and he therefore stated that Law, upon his own authority, had issued millions of notes at different times, and that he the regent , seeing that the thing had been irrevocably done, had screened Law by antedating the decrees of the council which authorised the augmentation.

It would have been more to his credit if he had told the whole truth while he was about it, and acknowledged that it was mainly through his extravagance and impatience that Law had been induced to overstep the bounds of safe speculation. It was also ascertained that the national debt, on the 1st of January , amounted to upwards of millions of livres, or more than ,, l. The securities of the latter were ordered to be destroyed, while those of the first four classes were subjected to a most rigid and jealous scrutiny. The result of the labours of the visa , was a report, in which they counselled the reduction of the interest upon these securities to fifty-six millions of livres.

They justified, this, advice by a statement of the various acts of peculation and extortion which they had discovered; and an edict to that effect was accordingly published and duly registered by the parliaments of the kingdom. The first two were sentenced to be beheaded, and the latter to be hanged; but their punishment was afterwards commuted into imprisonment for life in the Bastille.

Numerous other acts of dishonesty were discovered, and punished, by fine and imprisonment.

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He thought it better, however, to withdraw from Paris, and live for a time a life of seclusion at his country-seat. But he was not formed for retirement; and becoming moody and discontented, he aggravated a disease under which he had long laboured, and died in less than a twelve-month. The populace of Paris so detested him, that they carried their hatred even to his grave. As his funeral procession passed to the church of St. Nicholas du Chardonneret, the burying-place of his family, it was beset by a riotous mob, and his two sons, who were following as chief mourners, were obliged to drive as fast as they were able down a by-street to escape personal violence.

As regards Law, he for some time entertained a hope that he should be recalled to France, to aid in establishing its credit upon a firmer basis. The death of the regent in , who expired suddenly as he was sitting by the fireside conversing with his mistress, the Duchess de Phalaris, deprived him of that hope, and he was reduced to lead his former life of gambling. He was more than once obliged to pawn his diamond, the sole remnant of his vast wealth, but successful play generally enabled him to redeem it. Being persecuted by his creditors at Rome, he proceeded to Copenhagen, where he received permission from the English ministry to reside in his native country, his pardon for the murder of Mr.

Wilson having been sent over to him in Earl Coningsby complained that a man who had renounced both his country and his religion, should have been treated with such honour, and expressed his belief that his presence in England, at a time when the people were so bewildered by the nefarious practices of the South-Sea directors, would be attended with no little danger. Law remained for about four years in England, and then proceeded to Venice, where he died in , in very embarrassed circumstances.

The following epitaph was written at the time:. His brother, William Law, who had been concerned with him in the administration both of the bank and the Louisiana Company, was imprisoned in the Bastille for alleged malversation, but no guilt was ever proved against him. He was liberated after fifteen months, and became the founder of a family, which is still known in France under the title of Marquises of Lauriston. In the next chapter will be found an account of the madness which infected the people of England at the same time, and under very similar circumstances, but which, thanks to the energies and good sense of a constitutional government, was attended with results far less disastrous than those which were seen in France.

The South-Sea Company was originated by the celebrated Harley Earl of Oxford, in the year , with the view of restoring public credit, which had suffered by the dismissal of the Whig ministry, and of providing for the discharge of the army and navy debentures, and other parts of the floating debt, amounting to nearly ten millions sterling. A company of merchants, at that time without a name, took this debt upon themselves, and the government agreed to secure them for a certain period the interest of six per cent. To provide for this interest, amounting to , l.

The monopoly of the trade to the South Seas was granted, and the company, being incorporated by act of parliament, assumed the title by which it has ever since been known. Even at this early period of its history the most visionary ideas were formed by the company and the public of the immense riches of the eastern coast of South America. Every body had heard of the gold and silver mines of Peru and Mexico; every one believed them to be inexhaustible, and that it was only necessary to send the manufactures of England to the coast to be repaid a hundred fold in gold and silver ingots by the natives.

Philip V. Negotiations were set on foot, but their only result was the assiento contract, or the privilege of supplying the colonies with negroes for thirty years, and of sending once a year a vessel, limited both as to tonnage and value of cargo, to trade with Mexico, Peru, or Chili. The latter permission was only granted upon the hard condition, that the King of Spain should enjoy one-fourth of the profits, and a tax of five per cent on the remainder.

This was a great disappointment to the Earl of Oxford and his party, who were reminded much oftener than they found agreeable of the. But the public confidence in the South-Sea Company was not shaken. The Earl of Oxford declared that Spain would permit two ships, in addition to the annual ship, to carry out merchandise during the first year; and a list was published, in which all the ports and harbours of these coasts were pompously set forth as open to the trade of Great Britain.

The first voyage of the annual ship was not made till the year , and in the following year the trade was suppressed by the rupture with Spain. The two great monetary corporations, the South-Sea Company and the Bank of England, made proposals to parliament on the 20th of May ensuing. The South-Sea Company prayed that their capital stock of ten millions might be increased to twelve, by subscription or otherwise, and offered to accept five per cent instead of six upon the whole amount. The bank made proposals equally advantageous. By the first, the proposals of the South-Sea Company were accepted, and that body held itself ready to advance the sum of two millions towards discharging the principal and interest of the debt due by the state for the four lottery funds, of the ninth and tenth years of Queen Anne.

By the second act, the bank received a lower rate of interest for the sum of 1,, l. They were further required to be ready to advance, in case of need, a sum not exceeding 2,, l. The General Fund Act recited the various deficiencies, which were to be made good by the aids derived from the foregoing sources. The name of the South-Sea Company was thus continually before the public. Though their trade with the South American States produced little or no augmentation of their revenues, they continued to flourish as a monetary corporation.

Their stock was in high request, and the directors, buoyed up with success, began to think of new means for extending their influence. The Mississippi scheme of John Law, which so dazzled and captivated the French people, inspired them with an idea that they could carry on the same game in England. The anticipated failure of his plans did not divert them from their intention.

Wise in their own conceit, they imagined they could avoid his faults, carry on their schemes for ever, and stretch the cord of credit to its extremest tension, without causing it to snap asunder. Visions of boundless wealth floated before the fascinated eyes of the people in the two most celebrated countries of Europe. The English commenced their career of extravagance somewhat later than the French; but as soon as the delirium seized them, they were determined not to be outdone. The proposal set forth at great length, and under several heads, the debts of the state, amounting to 30,, l.

The proposal was received with great favour; but the Bank of England had many friends in the House of Commons, who were desirous that that body should share in the advantages that were likely to accrue.

CATHERINE THE GREAT AND HER SEVERAL MEMOIRS

On behalf of this corporation it was represented, that they had performed great and eminent services to the state in the most difficult times, and deserved, at least, that if any advantage was to be made by public bargains of this nature, they should be preferred before a company that had never done any thing for the nation. The further consideration of the matter was accordingly postponed for five days.

In the mean time, a plan was drawn up by the governors of the bank. The South-Sea Company, afraid that the bank might offer still more advantageous terms to the government than themselves, reconsidered their former proposal, and made some alterations in it, which they hoped would render it more acceptable. The principal change was a stipulation that the government might redeem these debts at the expiration of four years, instead of seven, as at first suggested.

The bank resolved not to be outbidden in this singular auction, and the governors also reconsidered their first proposal, and sent in a new one. Thus, each corporation having made two proposals, the house began to deliberate. Robert Walpole was the chief speaker in favour of the bank, and Mr. Aislabie, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the principal advocate on behalf of the South-Sea Company.

It was resolved, on the 2d of February, that the proposals of the latter were most advantageous to the country. They were accordingly received, and leave was given to bring in a bill to that effect. Exchange Alley was in a fever of excitement. Walpole was almost the only statesman in the House who spoke out boldly against it. He warned them, in eloquent and solemn language, of the evils that would ensue. It would hold out a dangerous lure to decoy the unwary to their ruin, by making them part with the earnings of their labour for a prospect of imaginary wealth.

The great principle of the project was an evil of first-rate magnitude; it was to raise artificially the value of the stock, by exciting and keeping up a general infatuation, and by promising dividends out of funds which could never be adequate to the purpose. If it failed, which he was convinced it would, the result would bring general discontent and ruin upon the country. Such would be the delusion, that when the evil day came, as come it would, the people would start up, as from a dream, and ask themselves if these things could have been true.

All his eloquence was in vain. He was looked upon as a false prophet, or compared to the hoarse raven, croaking omens of evil. Although, in former times, the house had listened with the utmost attention to every word that fell from his lips, the benches became deserted when it was known that he would speak on the South-Sea question. The bill was two months in its progress through the House of Commons.

During this time every exertion was made by the directors and their friends, and more especially by the chairman, the noted Sir John Blunt, to raise the price of the stock. The most extravagant rumours were in circulation. Treaties between England and Spain were spoken of, whereby the latter was to grant a free trade to all her colonies; and the rich produce of the mines of Potosi-la-Paz was to be brought to England until silver should become almost as plentiful as iron. For cotton and woollen goods, with which we could supply them in abundance, the dwellers in Mexico were to empty their golden mines.

The company of merchants trading to the South Seas would be the richest the world ever saw, and every hundred pounds invested in it would produce hundreds per annum to the stockholder. At last the stock was raised by these means to near four hundred; but, after fluctuating a good deal, settled at three hundred and thirty, at which price it remained when the bill passed the Commons by a majority of against In the House of Lords the bill was hurried through all its stages with unexampled rapidity.

On the 4th of April it was read a first time; on the 5th, it was read a second time; on the 6th, it was committed; and on the 7th, was read a third time and passed. Several peers spoke warmly against the scheme; but their warnings fell upon dull, cold ears. A speculating frenzy had seized them as well as the plebeians.

Lord North and Grey said the bill was unjust in its nature, and might prove fatal in its consequences, being calculated to enrich the few and impoverish the many. The Duke of Wharton followed; but, as he only retailed at second-hand the arguments so eloquently stated by Walpole in the Lower House, he was not listened to with even the same attention that had been bestowed upon Lord North and Grey. Earl Cowper followed on the same side, and compared the bill to the famous horse of the siege of Troy.

Like that, it was ushered in and received with great pomp and acclamations of joy, but bore within it treachery and destruction. The Earl of Sunderland endeavoured to answer all objections; and on the question being put, there appeared only seventeen peers against, and eighty-three in favour of the project. The very same day on which it passed the Lords, it received the royal assent, and became the law of the land.

It seemed at that time as if the whole nation had turned stockjobbers. Exchange Alley was every day blocked up by crowds, and Cornhill was impassable for the number of carriages. Every body came to purchase stock. The inordinate thirst of gain that had afflicted all ranks of society was not to be slaked even in the South Sea. Other schemes, of the most extravagant kind, were started. The share-lists were speedily filled up, and an enormous traffic carried on in shares, while, of course, every means were resorted to to raise them to an artificial value in the market.

Contrary to all expectation, South-Sea stock fell when the bill received the royal assent. On the 7th of April the shares were quoted at three hundred and ten, and on the following day at two hundred and ninety. Already the directors had tasted the profits of their scheme, and it was not likely that they should quietly allow the stock to find its natural level without an effort to raise it.

Immediately their busy emissaries were set to work. Every person interested in the success of the project endeavoured to draw a knot of listeners around him, to whom he expatiated on the treasures of the South American seas. Exchange Alley was crowded with attentive groups. One rumour alone, asserted with the utmost confidence, had an immediate effect upon the stock. Please note: This is the edition of the Hogwarts Library ebook, featuring bespoke cover artwork from Olly Moss and a new foreword from J. The official screenplay of the Warner Bros. Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift.

By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again. Lots of literary inventiveness in the plotting and chunks of very good writing and characterization. It would make one hell of a movie.

Or a heavenly one. Take your pick. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over. Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page. Lecter is a former psychiatrist with a grisly history, unusual tastes, and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--and ingenious, masterfully written book and an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.

There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. Mehta juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, nannies, and others, from Dubai to Queens, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before.

As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, This Land Is Our Land is a timely and necessary intervention, and a literary polemic of the highest order. The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend.

Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs—a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts— five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

Rafe Judkins is attached to write and executive produce. An apt title to be sure, because everyone is obsessed. Dear Ms. Helen Hardt, I toss many profanities your way for making me wait. I need to know what the secrets are Jade Roberts is in love with Talon Steel but no longer welcome in his home.

Talon and his brothers are hiding something, and Jade is determined to find out what it is. The moment Talon saw Jade he wanted her, ached for her, craved her…and now his desire has become his obsession. If he and Jade are to have a future, he knows he must make peace with the dark shadows and horrors of his past. Meet Talon. Talon Steel. Helen exceeded every expectation I had for this book. It was heart pounding, heartbreaking, intense, full throttle genius. Helen Hardt has truly blown me away with this series. It is dark, emotional, intense, horrifying, and utterly beautiful all mixed together.

To that end, she continues her investigation of the Steels…and unknowingly attracts some dangerous foes from their shrouded history. Talon loves Jade deeply and longs to possess her forever, so he faces his worst fears and exposes his rawest wounds in an attempt to heal. What's a man to do when the one who got away comes roaring back into his life, working smack dab next to him in the same office? But when captivating, brilliant, sexy as sin Sloane issues me a challenge -- make her purr like no man has done before -- I don't say no.

Hardt has continued to weave her web in this installment, and the results are every bit as good…or perhaps better…than what we have seen so far. With every answer, there is another question. That is definitely a proper name for this book. Not only did I melt many times while reading it, I also went up in flames. Jonah Steel is intelligent, rich, and hard-working. As the oldest of his siblings, he was charged by his father to protect them. Melanie Carmichael has her own baggage.

As Melanie and Jonah attempt to work through their issues together, desperately trying to ignore the desire brewing between them, ghosts from both their pasts surface…and danger draws near. Ice Knights defenseman Zach Blackburn has come down with the flu, and my BFF—his PR manager—begs me to put my nursing degree to use and get him back to health. Of course she would call in a favor for the most hated man in Harbor City. Paparazzi spot me and pictures, plus accusations that I slept with him, fly faster than a hockey puck.

At first, all of Harbor City wants my blood—or to give me a girlie-girl makeover. But then And now this fickle town wants me with the big jerk twenty-four seven. I never slept with him the first time! But no one will listen. Successful people are where they are today because of their habits. Everything that you are today, and everything that you will ever accomplish, is determined by the quality of the habits that you form. By creating good habits and adopting a positive behavior, you too can become successful and live a prosperous life.

Drawing on hundreds of studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build:. SuperBetter contains nearly playful challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.

As inspiring as it is down to earth, and grounded in rigorous research, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. My qualification is not that I am better than you but I am worse. With a rare mix of honesty, humor, and compassion, comedian and movie star Russell Brand mines his own wild story and shares the advice and wisdom he has gained through his fourteen years of recovery.

Brand speaks to those suffering along the full spectrum of addiction—from drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar addictions to addictions to work, stress, bad relationships, digital media, and fame. Brand understands that addiction can take many shapes and sizes and how the process of staying clean, sane, and unhooked is a daily activity. Here he provides not only a recovery plan, but an attempt to make sense of the ailing world. Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women not living into their full potential. In Girl, Stop Apologizing, 1 New York Times bestselling author and founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis sounds a wake-up call.

She knows that many women have been taught to define themselves in light of other people—whether as wife, mother, daughter, or employee—instead of learning how to own who they are and what they want. With a challenge to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviors to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and believing in yourself.

Vital and indispensable, The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals. Dropshipping is quickly becoming a very popular way to earn a living while working from home. In this book, you'll learn everything you need to know to start a dropshipping business, from finding a product, setting up an online store and growing your business into a real and profitable brand.

For aspiring entrepreneurs or people in business, this book will help you take your company to the next level. Tilman Fertitta, also known as the Billion Dollar Buyer, started his hospitality empire thirty years ago with just one restaurant. So he knows the challenges that business owners face, as well as the common pitfalls that cause them to go under. In Shut Up and Listen! Fertitta has seen it all.

As Fertitta says:. A groundbreaking, no-holds-barred book, Shut Up and Listen!

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See more. Louis L'Amour. Raised in part by Indians, then befriended by a mysterious woman, Johannes grew up to become a rugged adventurer and an educated man. But even now, strengthened by the love of a golden-haired girl and well on his way to making a fortune in bustling early-day Los Angeles, the past may rise up to threaten his future once more.

And this time only the ancient gods of the desert can save him. Immortal Hulk Vol. Al Ewing. Horror has a name. The horror is the Immortal Hulk! And trouble has a way of following them both. As reporter Jackie McGee tries to put together the pieces, Banner treads a lonely path from town to town, finding murder, mystery and tragedy as he goes.

And what Banner finds, the Hulk smashes! This original, graphic-led book explores and explains the key ideas underpinning the world's greatest classical compositions and musical traditions, defines their importance to the musical canon, and places them into their wider social, cultural, and historical context. Driving Lessons: A Novel. Zoe Fishman. Sometimes life's most fulfilling journeys begin without a map An executive at a New York cosmetics firm, Sarah has had her fill of the interminable hustle of the big city. Things Fall Apart: A Novel.

Chinua Achebe. A masterpiece that has inspired generations of writers in Nigeria, across Africa, and around the world. It is a classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late s, Things Fall Apart explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.

With more than 20 million copies sold and translated into fifty-seven languages, Things Fall Apart provides one of the most illuminating and permanent monuments to African experience. Achebe does not only capture life in a pre-colonial African village, he conveys the tragedy of the loss of that world while broadening our understanding of our contemporary realities.

Guy Winch, Ph. Prescriptive and unique, Emotional First Aid is essential reading for anyone looking to become more resilient, build self-esteem, and let go of the hurts and hang-ups that are holding them back. We all sustain emotional wounds. Failure, guilt, rejection, and loss are as much a part of life as the occasional scraped elbow. Fortunately, there is such a thing as mental first aid for battered emotions. Drawing on the latest scientific research and using real-life examples, practicing psychologist Guy Winch, Ph.

Vol What does the future hold for Midoriya, and what do his dreams about One For All mean? James Bowen. My Hero Academia: Overhaul. Even if they can get past this bump in the road on the way to becoming superheroes, the hurdles will just keep getting higher and higher—the hero work studies in the upcoming year will bring them even closer to their goal Robert Lacey. Crowned at twenty-five, she was already a wife and mother as she began her journey towards becoming a queen. As Britain lifted itself out of the shadow of war, the new monarch faced her own challenges.

Her mother doubted her marriage; her uncle-in-exile derided her abilities; her husband resented the sacrifice of his career and family name; and her rebellious sister embarked on a love affair that threatened the centuries-old links between the Church and the Crown. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of resolve to ensure that the Crown always came out on top. From page to screen.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Book 1. The edition of this essential companion to the Harry Potter stories included a new foreword from J. Rowling writing as Newt Scamander and 6 new beasts! A set textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander's masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the wizarding world. Scamander's years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books - the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail Others will surprise even the most ardent amateur Magizoologist.

Dip in to discover the curious habits of magical beasts across five continents The Magicians: A Novel. Hogwarts was never like this.

Club Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory.

The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination. Stephen King. It: Chapter Two—now a major motion picture! Welcome to Derry, Maine. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author.

But it all starts with It. Book Neil Gaiman. The classic collaboration from the internationally bestselling authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, soon to be an original series starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

Top 10 opening scenes in books | Books | The Guardian

A Simple Favor: A Novel. Darcey Bell. Soon to be a major motion picture from Lionsgate starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding, and directed by Paul Feig "Riveting and brilliantly structured, A Simple Favor is an edge-of-your seat domestic thriller about a missing wife and mother that relies on a rotating cast of unreliable narrators to ingeniously examine the cost of competitive mom-friends, the toll of ordinary marital discontent and the fallacy of the picture-perfect, suburban family. She knows all your secrets. The Wife: A Novel. Meg Wolitzer. Now a major motion picture starring Glenn Close in her Golden Globe—winning role!

Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, finally decides to stop. Red Sparrow: A Novel. Now a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton! We the Animals: A novel. Justin Torres. Torres is a savage new talent. A welterweight champ of a book. A kind of incantation.

The Silence of the Lambs. Thomas Harris. A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname--Buffalo Bill--is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Her assignment: to interview Dr. The Institute: A Novel. From 1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters.


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The operation takes less than two minutes. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon.

They are all in Front Half. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts.

The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)
The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics) The Memoirs of Catherine the Great (Modern Library Classics)

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