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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesEmile; Or, On Education - BOOK 4 Continued 5
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Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 4 Continued 5 Post by :cozyprofits Category :Long Stories Author :Jean Jacques Rousseau Date :April 2012 Read :2187

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Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 4 Continued 5

For all that I would not mislead a young man by describing a model of perfection which could never exist; but I would so choose the faults of his mistress that they will suit him, that he will be pleased by them, and they may serve to correct his own. Neither would I lie to him and affirm that there really is such a person; let him delight in the portrait, he will soon desire to find the original. From desire to belief the transition is easy; it is a matter of a little skilful description, which under more perceptible features will give to this imaginary object an air of greater reality. I would go so far as to give her a name; I would say, smiling. Let us call your future mistress Sophy; Sophy is a name of good omen; if it is not the name of the lady of your choice at least she will be worthy of the name; we may honour her with it meanwhile. If after all these details, without affirming or denying, we excuse ourselves from giving an answer, his suspicions will become certainty; he will think that his destined bride is purposely concealed from him, and that he will see her in good time. If once he has arrived at this conclusion and if the characteristics to be shown to him have been well chosen, the rest is easy; there will be little risk in exposing him to the world; protect him from his senses, and his heart is safe.

But whether or no he personifies the model I have contrived to make so attractive to him, this model, if well done, will attach him none the less to everything that resembles itself, and will give him as great a distaste for all that is unlike it as if Sophy really existed. What a means to preserve his heart from the dangers to which his appearance would expose him, to repress his senses by means of his imagination, to rescue him from the hands of those women who profess to educate young men, and make them pay so dear for their teaching, and only teach a young man manners by making him utterly shameless. Sophy is so modest? What would she think of their advances! Sophy is so simple! How would she like their airs? They are too far from his thoughts and his observations to be dangerous.

Every one who deals with the control of children follows the same prejudices and the same maxima, for their observation is at fault, and their reflection still more so. A young man is led astray in the first place neither by temperament nor by the senses, but by popular opinion. If we were concerned with boys brought up in boarding schools or girls in convents, I would show that this applies even to them; for the first lessons they learn from each other, the only lessons that bear fruit, are those of vice; and it is not nature that corrupts them but example. But let us leave the boarders in schools and convents to their bad morals; there is no cure for them. I am dealing only with home training. Take a young man carefully educated in his father's country house, and examine him when he reaches Paris and makes his entrance into society; you will find him thinking clearly about honest matters, and you will find his will as wholesome as his reason. You will find scorn of vice and disgust for debauchery; his face will betray his innocent horror at the very mention of a prostitute. I maintain that no young man could make up his mind to enter the gloomy abodes of these unfortunates by himself, if indeed he were aware of their purpose and felt their necessity.

See the same young man six months later, you will not know him; from his bold conversation, his fashionable maxims, his easy air, you would take him for another man, if his jests over his former simplicity and his shame when any one recalls it did not show that it is he indeed and that he is ashamed of himself. How greatly has he changed in so short a time! What has brought about so sudden and complete a change? His physical development? Would not that have taken place in his father's house, and certainly he would not have acquired these maxims and this tone at home? The first charms of sense? On the contrary; those who are beginning to abandon themselves to these pleasures are timid and anxious, they shun the light and noise. The first pleasures are always mysterious, modesty gives them their savour, and modesty conceals them; the first mistress does not make a man bold but timid. Wholly absorbed in a situation so novel to him, the young man retires into himself to enjoy it, and trembles for fear it should escape him. If he is noisy he knows neither passion nor love; however he may boast, he has not enjoyed.

These changes are merely the result of changed ideas. His heart is the same, but his opinions have altered. His feelings, which change more slowly, will at length yield to his opinions and it is then that he is indeed corrupted. He has scarcely made his entrance into society before he receives a second education quite unlike the first, which teaches him to despise what he esteemed, and esteem what he despised; he learns to consider the teaching of his parents and masters as the jargon of pedants, and the duties they have instilled into him as a childish morality, to be scorned now that he is grown up. He thinks he is bound in honour to change his conduct; he becomes forward without desire, and he talks foolishly from false shame. He rails against morality before he has any taste for vice, and prides himself on debauchery without knowing how to set about it. I shall never forget the confession of a young officer in the Swiss Guards, who was utterly sick of the noisy pleasures of his comrades, but dared not refuse to take part in them lest he should be laughed at. "I am getting used to it," he said, "as I am getting used to taking snuff; the taste will come with practice; it will not do to be a child for ever."

So a young man when he enters society must be preserved from vanity rather than from sensibility; he succumbs rather to the tastes of others than to his own, and self-love is responsible for more libertines than love.

This being granted, I ask you. Is there any one on earth better armed than my pupil against all that may attack his morals, his sentiments, his principles; is there any one more able to resist the flood? What seduction is there against which he is not forearmed? If his desires attract him towards women, he fails to find what he seeks, and his heart, already occupied, holds him back. If he is disturbed and urged onward by his senses, where will he find satisfaction? His horror of adultery and debauch keeps him at a distance from prostitutes and married women, and the disorders of youth may always be traced to one or other of these. A maiden may be a coquette, but she will not be shameless, she will not fling herself at the head of a young man who may marry her if he believes in her virtue; besides she is always under supervision. Emile, too, will not be left entirely to himself; both of them will be under the guardianship of fear and shame, the constant companions of a first passion; they will not proceed at once to misconduct, and they will not have time to come to it gradually without hindrance. If he behaves otherwise, he must have taken lessons from his comrades, he must have learned from them to despise his self-control, and to imitate their boldness. But there is no one in the whole world so little given to imitation as Emile. What man is there who is so little influenced by mockery as one who has no prejudices himself and yields nothing to the prejudices of others. I have laboured twenty years to arm him against mockery; they will not make him their dupe in a day; for in his eyes ridicule is the argument of fools, and nothing makes one less susceptible to raillery than to be beyond the influence of prejudice. Instead of jests he must have arguments, and while he is in this frame of mind, I am not afraid that he will be carried away by young fools; conscience and truth are on my side. If prejudice is to enter into the matter at all, an affection of twenty years' standing counts for something; no one will ever convince him that I have wearied him with vain lessons; and in a heart so upright and so sensitive the voice of a tried and trusted friend will soon efface the shouts of twenty libertines. As it is therefore merely a question of showing him that he is deceived, that while they pretend to treat him as a man they are really treating him as a child, I shall choose to be always simple but serious and plain in my arguments, so that he may feel that I do indeed treat him as a man. I will say to him, You will see that your welfare, in which my own is bound up, compels me to speak; I can do nothing else. But why do these young men want to persuade you? Because they desire to seduce you; they do not care for you, they take no real interest in you; their only motive is a secret spite because they see you are better than they; they want to drag you down to their own level, and they only reproach you with submitting to control that they may themselves control you. Do you think you have anything to gain by this? Are they so much wiser than I, is the affection of a day stronger than mine? To give any weight to their jests they must give weight to their authority; and by what experience do they support their maxima above ours? They have only followed the example of other giddy youths, as they would have you follow theirs. To escape from the so-called prejudices of their fathers, they yield to those of their comrades. I cannot see that they are any the better off; but I see that they lose two things of value--the affection of their parents, whose advice is that of tenderness and truth, and the wisdom of experience which teaches us to judge by what we know; for their fathers have once been young, but the young men have never been fathers.

But you think they are at least sincere in their foolish precepts. Not so, dear Emile; they deceive themselves in order to deceive you; they are not in agreement with themselves; their heart continually revolts, and their very words often contradict themselves. This man who mocks at everything good would be in despair if his wife held the same views. Another extends his indifference to good morals even to his future wife, or he sinks to such depths of infamy as to be indifferent to his wife's conduct; but go a step further; speak to him of his mother; is he willing to be treated as the child of an adulteress and the son of a woman of bad character, is he ready to assume the name of a family, to steal the patrimony of the true heir, in a word will he bear being treated as a bastard? Which of them will permit his daughter to be dishonoured as he dishonours the daughter of another? There is not one of them who would not kill you if you adopted in your conduct towards him all the principles he tries to teach you. Thus they prove their inconsistency, and we know they do not believe what they say. Here are reasons, dear Emile; weigh their arguments if they have any, and compare them with mine. If I wished to have recourse like them to scorn and mockery, you would see that they lend themselves to ridicule as much or more than myself. But I am not afraid of serious inquiry. The triumph of mockers is soon over; truth endures, and their foolish laughter dies away.

You do not think that Emile, at twenty, can possibly be docile. How differently we think! I cannot understand how he could be docile at ten, for what hold have I on him at that age? It took me fifteen years of careful preparation to secure that hold. I was not educating him, but preparing him for education. He is now sufficiently educated to be docile; he recognises the voice of friendship and he knows how to obey reason. It is true I allow him a show of freedom, but he was never more completely under control, because he obeys of his own free will. So long as I could not get the mastery over his will, I retained my control over his person; I never left him for a moment. Now I sometimes leave him to himself because I control him continually. When I leave him I embrace him and I say with confidence: Emile, I trust you to my friend, I leave you to his honour; he will answer for you.

To corrupt healthy affections which have not been previously depraved, to efface principles which are directly derived from our own reasoning, is not the work of a moment. If any change takes place during my absence, that absence will not be long, he will never be able to conceal himself from me, so that I shall perceive the danger before any harm comes of it, and I shall be in time to provide a remedy. As we do not become depraved all at once, neither do we learn to deceive all at once; and if ever there was a man unskilled in the art of deception it is Emile, who has never had any occasion for deceit.

By means of these precautions and others like them, I expect to guard him so completely against strange sights and vulgar precepts that I would rather see him in the worst company in Paris than alone in his room or in a park left to all the restlessness of his age. Whatever we may do, a young man's worst enemy is himself, and this is an enemy we cannot avoid. Yet this is an enemy of our own making, for, as I have said again and again, it is the imagination which stirs the senses. Desire is not a physical need; it is not true that it is a need at all. If no lascivious object had met our eye, if no unclean thought had entered our mind, this so-called need might never have made itself felt, and we should have remained chaste, without temptation, effort, or merit. We do not know how the blood of youth is stirred by certain situations and certain sights, while the youth himself does not understand the cause of his uneasiness-an uneasiness difficult to subdue and certain to recur. For my own part, the more I consider this serious crisis and its causes, immediate and remote, the more convinced I am that a solitary brought up in some desert, apart from books, teaching, and women, would die a virgin, however long he lived.

But we are not concerned with a savage of this sort. When we educate a man among his fellow-men and for social life, we cannot, and indeed we ought not to, bring him up in this wholesome ignorance, and half knowledge is worse than none. The memory of things we have observed, the ideas we have acquired, follow us into retirement and people it, against our will, with images more seductive than the things themselves, and these make solitude as fatal to those who bring such ideas with them as it is wholesome for those who have never left it.

Therefore, watch carefully over the young man; he can protect himself from all other foes, but it is for you to protect him against himself. Never leave him night or day, or at least share his room; never let him go to bed till he is sleepy, and let him rise as soon as he wakes. Distrust instinct as soon as you cease to rely altogether upon it. Instinct was good while he acted under its guidance only; now that he is in the midst of human institutions, instinct is not to be trusted; it must not be destroyed, it must be controlled, which is perhaps a more difficult matter. It would be a dangerous matter if instinct taught your pupil to abuse his senses; if once he acquires this dangerous habit he is ruined. From that time forward, body and soul will be enervated; he will carry to the grave the sad effects of this habit, the most fatal habit which a young man can acquire. If you cannot attain to the mastery of your passions, dear Emile, I pity you; but I shall not hesitate for a moment, I will not permit the purposes of nature to be evaded. If you must be a slave, I prefer to surrender you to a tyrant from whom I may deliver you; whatever happens, I can free you more easily from the slavery of women than from yourself.

Up to the age of twenty, the body is still growing and requires all its strength; till that age continence is the law of nature, and this law is rarely violated without injury to the constitution. After twenty, continence is a moral duty; it is an important duty, for it teaches us to control ourselves, to be masters of our own appetites. But moral duties have their modifications, their exceptions, their rules. When human weakness makes an alternative inevitable, of two evils choose the least; in any case it is better to commit a misdeed than to contract a vicious habit.

Remember, I am not talking of my pupil now, but of yours. His passions, to which you have given way, are your master; yield to them openly and without concealing his victory. If you are able to show him it in its true light, he will be ashamed rather than proud of it, and you will secure the right to guide him in his wanderings, at least so as to avoid precipices. The disciple must do nothing, not even evil, without the knowledge and consent of his master; it is a hundredfold better that the tutor should approve of a misdeed than that he should deceive himself or be deceived by his pupil, and the wrong should be done without his knowledge. He who thinks he must shut his eyes to one thing, must soon shut them altogether; the first abuse which is permitted leads to others, and this chain of consequences only ends in the complete overthrow of all order and contempt for every law.

There is another mistake which I have already dealt with, a mistake continually made by narrow-minded persons; they constantly affect the dignity of a master, and wish to be regarded by their disciples as perfect. This method is just the contrary of what should be done. How is it that they fail to perceive that when they try to strengthen their authority they are really destroying it; that to gain a hearing one must put oneself in the place of our hearers, and that to speak to the human heart, one must be a man. All these perfect people neither touch nor persuade; people always say, "It is easy for them to fight against passions they do not feel." Show your pupil your own weaknesses if you want to cure his; let him see in you struggles like his own; let him learn by your example to master himself and let him not say like other young men, "These old people, who are vexed because they are no longer young, want to treat all young people as if they were old; and they make a crime of our passions because their own passions are dead."

Montaigne tells us that he once asked Seigneur de Langey how often, in his negotiations with Germany, he had got drunk in his king's service. I would willingly ask the tutor of a certain young man how often he has entered a house of ill-fame for his pupil's sake. How often? I am wrong. If the first time has not cured the young libertine of all desire to go there again, if he does not return penitent and ashamed, if he does not shed torrents of tears upon your bosom, leave him on the spot; either he is a monster or you are a fool; you will never do him any good. But let us have done with these last expedients, which are as distressing as they are dangerous; our kind of education has no need of them.

What precautions we must take with a young man of good birth before exposing him to the scandalous manners of our age! These precautions are painful but necessary; negligence in this matter is the ruin of all our young men; degeneracy is the result of youthful excesses, and it is these excesses which make men what they are. Old and base in their vices, their hearts are shrivelled, because their worn-out bodies were corrupted at an early age; they have scarcely strength to stir. The subtlety of their thoughts betrays a mind lacking in substance; they are incapable of any great or noble feeling, they have neither simplicity nor vigour; altogether abject and meanly wicked, they are merely frivolous, deceitful, and false; they have not even courage enough to be distinguished criminals. Such are the despicable men produced by early debauchery; if there were but one among them who knew how to be sober and temperate, to guard his heart, his body, his morals from the contagion of bad example, at the age of thirty he would crush all these insects, and would become their master with far less trouble than it cost him to become master of himself.

However little Emile owes to birth and fortune, he might be this man if he chose; but he despises such people too much to condescend to make them his slaves. Let us now watch him in their midst, as he enters into society, not to claim the first place, but to acquaint himself with it and to seek a helpmeet worthy of himself.

Whatever his rank or birth, whatever the society into which he is introduced, his entrance into that society will be simple and unaffected; God grant he may not be unlucky enough to shine in society; the qualities which make a good impression at the first glance are not his, he neither possesses them, nor desires to possess them. He cares too little for the opinions of other people to value their prejudices, and he is indifferent whether people esteem him or not until they know him. His address is neither shy nor conceited, but natural and sincere, he knows nothing of constraint or concealment, and he is just the same among a group of people as he is when he is alone. Will this make him rude, scornful, and careless of others? On the contrary; if he were not heedless of others when he lived alone, why should he be heedless of them now that he is living among them? He does not prefer them to himself in his manners, because he does not prefer them to himself in his heart, but neither does he show them an indifference which he is far from feeling; if he is unacquainted with the forms of politeness, he is not unacquainted with the attentions dictated by humanity. He cannot bear to see any one suffer; he will not give up his place to another from mere external politeness, but he will willingly yield it to him out of kindness if he sees that he is being neglected and that this neglect hurts him; for it will be less disagreeable to Emile to remain standing of his own accord than to see another compelled to stand.

Although Emile has no very high opinion of people in general, he does not show any scorn of them, because he pities them and is sorry for them. As he cannot give them a taste for what is truly good, he leaves them the imaginary good with which they are satisfied, lest by robbing them of this he should leave them worse off than before. So he neither argues nor contradicts; neither does he flatter nor agree; he states his opinion without arguing with others, because he loves liberty above all things, and freedom is one of the fairest gifts of liberty.

He says little, for he is not anxious to attract attention; for the same reason he only says what is to the point; who could induce him to speak otherwise? Emile is too well informed to be a chatter-box. A great flow of words comes either from a pretentious spirit, of which I shall speak presently, or from the value laid upon trifles which we foolishly think to be as important in the eyes of others as in our own. He who knows enough of things to value them at their true worth never says too much; for he can also judge of the attention bestowed on him and the interest aroused by what he says. People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little. It is plain that an ignorant person thinks everything he does know important, and he tells it to everybody. But a well-educated man is not so ready to display his learning; he would have too much to say, and he sees that there is much more to be said, so he holds his peace.

Far from disregarding the ways of other people, Emile conforms to them readily enough; not that he may appear to know all about them, nor yet to affect the airs of a man of fashion, but on the contrary for fear lest he should attract attention, and in order to pass unnoticed; he is most at his ease when no one pays any attention to him.

Although when he makes his entrance into society he knows nothing of its customs, this does not make him shy or timid; if he keeps in the background, it is not because he is embarrassed, but because, if you want to see, you must not be seen; for he scarcely troubles himself at all about what people think of him, and he is not the least afraid of ridicule. Hence he is always quiet and self-possessed and is not troubled with shyness. All he has to do is done as well as he knows how to do it, whether people are looking at him or not; and as he is always on the alert to observe other people, he acquires their ways with an ease impossible to the slaves of other people's opinions. We might say that he acquires the ways of society just because he cares so little about them.

But do not make any mistake as to his bearing; it is not to be compared with that of your young dandies. It is self-possessed, not conceited; his manners are easy, not haughty; an insolent look is the mark of a slave, there is nothing affected in independence. I never saw a man of lofty soul who showed it in his bearing; this affectation is more suited to vile and frivolous souls, who have no other means of asserting themselves. I read somewhere that a foreigner appeared one day in the presence of the famous Marcel, who asked him what country he came from. "I am an Englishman," replied the stranger. "You are an Englishman!" replied the dancer, "You come from that island where the citizens have a share in the government, and form part of the sovereign power? (Footnote: As if there were citizens who were not part of the city and had not, as such, a share in sovereign power! But the French, who have thought fit to usurp the honourable name of citizen which was formerly the right of the members of the Gallic cities, have degraded the idea till it has no longer any sort of meaning. A man who recently wrote a number of silly criticisms on the "Nouvelle Heloise" added to his signature the title "Citizen of Paimboeuf," and he thought it a capital joke.) No, sir, that modest bearing, that timid glance, that hesitating manner, proclaim only a slave adorned with the title of an elector."

I cannot say whether this saying shows much knowledge of the true relation between a man's character and his appearance. I have not the honour of being a dancing master, and I should have thought just the opposite. I should have said, "This Englishman is no courtier; I never heard that courtiers have a timid bearing and a hesitating manner. A man whose appearance is timid in the presence of a dancer might not be timid in the House of Commons." Surely this M. Marcel must take his fellow-countrymen for so many Romans.

He who loves desires to be loved, Emile loves his fellows and desires to please them. Even more does he wish to please the women; his age, his character, the object he has in view, all increase this desire. I say his character, for this has a great effect; men of good character are those who really adore women. They have not the mocking jargon of gallantry like the rest, but their eagerness is more genuinely tender, because it comes from the heart. In the presence of a young woman, I could pick out a young man of character and self-control from among a hundred thousand libertines. Consider what Emile must be, with all the eagerness of early youth and so many reasons for resistance! For in the presence of women I think he will sometimes be shy and timid; but this shyness will certainly not be displeasing, and the least foolish of them will only too often find a way to enjoy it and augment it. Moreover, his eagerness will take a different shape according to those he has to do with. He will be more modest and respectful to married women, more eager and tender towards young girls. He never loses sight of his purpose, and it is always those who most recall it to him who receive the greater share of his attentions.

No one could be more attentive to every consideration based upon the laws of nature, and even on the laws of good society; but the former are always preferred before the latter, and Emile will show more respect to an elderly person in private life than to a young magistrate of his own age. As he is generally one of the youngest in the company, he will always be one of the most modest, not from the vanity which apes humility, but from a natural feeling founded upon reason. He will not have the effrontery of the young fop, who speaks louder than the wise and interrupts the old in order to amuse the company. He will never give any cause for the reply given to Louis XV by an old gentleman who was asked whether he preferred this century or the last: "Sire, I spent my youth in reverence towards the old; I find myself compelled to spend my old age in reverence towards the young."

His heart is tender and sensitive, but he cares nothing for the weight of popular opinion, though he loves to give pleasure to others; so he will care little to be thought a person of importance. Hence he will be affectionate rather than polite, he will never be pompous or affected, and he will be always more touched by a caress than by much praise. For the same reasons he will never be careless of his manners or his clothes; perhaps he will be rather particular about his dress, not that he may show himself a man of taste, but to make his appearance more pleasing; he will never require a gilt frame, and he will never spoil his style by a display of wealth.

All this demands, as you see, no stock of precepts from me; it is all the result of his early education. People make a great mystery of the ways of society, as if, at the age when these ways are acquired, we did not take to them quite naturally, and as if the first laws of politeness were not to be found in a kindly heart. True politeness consists in showing our goodwill towards men; it shows its presence without any difficulty; those only who lack this goodwill are compelled to reduce the outward signs of it to an art.

"The worst effect of artificial politeness is that it teaches us how to dispense with the virtues it imitates. If our education teaches us kindness and humanity, we shall be polite, or we shall have no need of politeness.

"If we have not those qualities which display themselves gracefully we shall have those which proclaim the honest man and the citizen; we shall have no need for falsehood.

"Instead of seeking to please by artificiality, it will suffice that we are kindly; instead of flattering the weaknesses of others by falsehood, it will suffice to tolerate them.

"Those with whom we have to do will neither be puffed up nor corrupted by such intercourse; they will only be grateful and will be informed by it." (Footnote: Considerations sur les moeurs de ce siecle, par M. Duclos.)

It seems to me that if any education is calculated to produce the sort of politeness required by M. Duclos in this passage, it is the education I have already described.

Yet I admit that with such different teaching Emile will not be just like everybody else, and heaven preserve him from such a fate! But where he is unlike other people, he will neither cause annoyance nor will he be absurd; the difference will be perceptible but not unpleasant. Emile will be, if you like, an agreeable foreigner. At first his peculiarities will be excused with the phrase, "He will learn." After a time people will get used to his ways, and seeing that he does not change they will still make excuses for him and say, "He is made that way."

He will not be feted as a charming man, but every one will like him without knowing why; no one will praise his intellect, but every one will be ready to make him the judge between men of intellect; his own intelligence will be clear and limited, his mind will be accurate, and his judgment sane. As he never runs after new ideas, he cannot pride himself on his wit. I have convinced him that all wholesome ideas, ideas which are really useful to mankind, were among the earliest known, that in all times they have formed the true bonds of society, and that there is nothing left for ambitious minds but to seek distinction for themselves by means of ideas which are injurious and fatal to mankind. This way of winning admiration scarcely appeals to him; he knows how he ought to seek his own happiness in life, and how he can contribute to the happiness of others. The sphere of his knowledge is restricted to what is profitable. His path is narrow and clearly defined; as he has no temptation to leave it, he is lost in the crowd; he will neither distinguish himself nor will he lose his way. Emile is a man of common sense and he has no desire to be anything more; you may try in vain to insult him by applying this phrase to him; he will always consider it a title of honour.

Although from his wish to please he is no longer wholly indifferent to the opinion of others, he only considers that opinion so far as he himself is directly concerned, without troubling himself about arbitrary values, which are subject to no law but that of fashion or conventionality. He will have pride enough to wish to do well in everything that he undertakes, and even to wish to do it better than others; he will want to be the swiftest runner, the strongest wrestler, the cleverest workman, the readiest in games of skill; but he will not seek advantages which are not in themselves clear gain, but need to be supported by the opinion of others, such as to be thought wittier than another, a better speaker, more learned, etc.; still less will he trouble himself with those which have nothing to do with the man himself, such as higher birth, a greater reputation for wealth, credit, or public estimation, or the impression created by a showy exterior.

As he loves his fellows because they are like himself, he will prefer him who is most like himself, because he will feel that he is good; and as he will judge of this resemblance by similarity of taste in morals, in all that belongs to a good character, he will be delighted to win approval. He will not say to himself in so many words, "I am delighted to gain approval," but "I am delighted because they say I have done right; I am delighted because the men who honour me are worthy of honour; while they judge so wisely, it is a fine thing to win their respect."

As he studies men in their conduct in society, just as he formerly studied them through their passions in history, he will often have occasion to consider what it is that pleases or offends the human heart. He is now busy with the philosophy of the principles of taste, and this is the most suitable subject for his present study.

The further we seek our definitions of taste, the further we go astray; taste is merely the power of judging what is pleasing or displeasing to most people. Go beyond this, and you cannot say what taste is. It does not follow that the men of taste are in the majority; for though the majority judges wisely with regard to each individual thing, there are few men who follow the judgment of the majority in everything; and though the most general agreement in taste constitutes good taste, there are few men of good taste just as there are few beautiful people, although beauty consists in the sum of the most usual features.

It must be observed that we are not here concerned with what we like because it is serviceable, or hate because it is harmful to us. Taste deals only with things that are indifferent to us, or which affect at most our amusements, not those which relate to our needs; taste is not required to judge of these, appetite only is sufficient. It is this which makes mere decisions of taste so difficult and as it seems so arbitrary; for beyond the instinct they follow there appears to be no reason whatever for them. We must also make a distinction between the laws of good taste in morals and its laws in physical matters. In the latter the laws of taste appear to be absolutely inexplicable. But it must be observed that there is a moral element in everything which involves imitation.(Footnote: This is demonstrated in an "Essay on the Origin of Languages" which will be found in my collected works.) This is the explanation of beauties which seem to be physical, but are not so in reality. I may add that taste has local rules which make it dependent in many respects on the country we are in, its manners, government, institutions; it has other rules which depend upon age, sex, and character, and it is in this sense that we must not dispute over matters of taste.

Taste is natural to men; but all do not possess it in the same degree, it is not developed to the same extent in every one; and in every one it is liable to be modified by a variety of causes. Such taste as we may possess depends on our native sensibility; its cultivation and its form depend upon the society in which we have lived. In the first place we must live in societies of many different kinds, so as to compare much. In the next place, there must be societies for amusement and idleness, for in business relations, interest, not pleasure, is our rule. Lastly, there must be societies in which people are fairly equal, where the tyranny of public opinion may be moderate, where pleasure rather than vanity is queen; where this is not so, fashion stifles taste, and we seek what gives distinction rather than delight.

In the latter case it is no longer true that good taste is the taste of the majority. Why is this? Because the purpose is different. Then the crowd has no longer any opinion of its own, it only follows the judgment of those who are supposed to know more about it; its approval is bestowed not on what is good, but on what they have already approved. At any time let every man have his own opinion, and what is most pleasing in itself will always secure most votes.

Every beauty that is to be found in the works of man is imitated. All the true models of taste are to be found in nature. The further we get from the master, the worse are our pictures. Then it is that we find our models in what we ourselves like, and the beauty of fancy, subject to caprice and to authority, is nothing but what is pleasing to our leaders.

Those leaders are the artists, the wealthy, and the great, and they themselves follow the lead of self-interest or pride. Some to display their wealth, others to profit by it, they seek eagerly for new ways of spending it. This is how luxury acquires its power and makes us love what is rare and costly; this so-called beauty consists, not in following nature, but in disobeying her. Hence luxury and bad taste are inseparable. Wherever taste is lavish, it is bad.

Taste, good or bad, takes its shape especially in the intercourse between the two sexes; the cultivation of taste is a necessary consequence of this form of society. But when enjoyment is easily obtained, and the desire to please becomes lukewarm, taste must degenerate; and this is, in my opinion, one of the best reasons why good taste implies good morals.

Consult the women's opinions in bodily matters, in all that concerns the senses; consult the men in matters of morality and all that concerns the understanding. When women are what they ought to be, they will keep to what they can understand, and their judgment will be right; but since they have set themselves up as judges of literature, since they have begun to criticise books and to make them with might and main, they are altogether astray. Authors who take the advice of blue-stockings will always be ill-advised; gallants who consult them about their clothes will always be absurdly dressed. I shall presently have an opportunity of speaking of the real talents of the female sex, the way to cultivate these talents, and the matters in regard to which their decisions should receive attention.

These are the elementary considerations which I shall lay down as principles when I discuss with Emile this matter which is by no means indifferent to him in his present inquiries. And to whom should it be a matter of indifference? To know what people may find pleasant or unpleasant is not only necessary to any one who requires their help, it is still more necessary to any one who would help them; you must please them if you would do them service; and the art of writing is no idle pursuit if it is used to make men hear the truth.

If in order to cultivate my pupil's taste, I were compelled to choose between a country where this form of culture has not yet arisen and those in which it has already degenerated, I would progress backwards; I would begin his survey with the latter and end with the former. My reason for this choice is, that taste becomes corrupted through excessive delicacy, which makes it sensitive to things which most men do not perceive; this delicacy leads to a spirit of discussion, for the more subtle is our discrimination of things the more things there are for us. This subtlety increases the delicacy and decreases the uniformity of our touch. So there are as many tastes as there are people. In disputes as to our preferences, philosophy and knowledge are enlarged, and thus we learn to think. It is only men accustomed to plenty of society who are capable of very delicate observations, for these observations do not occur to us till the last, and people who are unused to all sorts of society exhaust their attention in the consideration of the more conspicuous features. There is perhaps no civilised place upon earth where the common taste is so bad as in Paris. Yet it is in this capital that good taste is cultivated, and it seems that few books make any impression in Europe whose authors have not studied in Paris. Those who think it is enough to read our books are mistaken; there is more to be learnt from the conversation of authors than from their books; and it is not from the authors that we learn most. It is the spirit of social life which develops a thinking mind, and carries the eye as far as it can reach. If you have a spark of genius, go and spend a year in Paris; you will soon be all that you are capable of becoming, or you will never be good for anything at all.

One may learn to think in places where bad taste rules supreme; but we must not think like those whose taste is bad, and it is very difficult to avoid this if we spend much time among them. We must use their efforts to perfect the machinery of judgment, but we must be careful not to make the same use of it. I shall take care not to polish Emile's judgment so far as to transform it, and when he has acquired discernment enough to feel and compare the varied tastes of men, I shall lead him to fix his own taste upon simpler matters.

I will go still further in order to keep his taste pure and wholesome. In the tumult of dissipation I shall find opportunities for useful conversation with him; and while these conversations are always about things in which he takes a delight, I shall take care to make them as amusing as they are instructive. Now is the time to read pleasant books; now is the time to teach him to analyse speech and to appreciate all the beauties of eloquence and diction. It is a small matter to learn languages, they are less useful than people think; but the study of languages leads us on to that of grammar in general. We must learn Latin if we would have a thorough knowledge of French; these two languages must be studied and compared if we would understand the rules of the art of speaking.

There is, moreover, a certain simplicity of taste which goes straight to the heart; and this is only to be found in the classics. In oratory, poetry, and every kind of literature, Emile will find the classical authors as he found them in history, full of matter and sober in their judgment. The authors of our own time, on the contrary, say little and talk much. To take their judgment as our constant law is not the way to form our own judgment. These differences of taste make themselves felt in all that is left of classical times and even on their tombs. Our monuments are covered with praises, theirs recorded facts.

"Sta, viator; heroem calcas."

If I had found this epitaph on an ancient monument, I should at once have guessed it was modern; for there is nothing so common among us as heroes, but among the ancients they were rare. Instead of saying a man was a hero, they would have said what he had done to gain that name. With the epitaph of this hero compare that of the effeminate Sardanapalus--

"Tarsus and Anchiales I built in a day, and now I am dead."

Which do you think says most? Our inflated monumental style is only fit to trumpet forth the praises of pygmies. The ancients showed men as they were, and it was plain that they were men indeed. Xenophon did honour to the memory of some warriors who were slain by treason during the retreat of the Ten Thousand. "They died," said he, "without stain in war and in love." That is all, but think how full was the heart of the author of this short and simple elegy. Woe to him who fails to perceive its charm. The following words were engraved on a tomb at Thermopylae--

"Go, Traveller, tell Sparta that here we fell in obedience to her laws."

It is pretty clear that this was not the work of the Academy of Inscriptions.

If I am not mistaken, the attention of my pupil, who sets so small value upon words, will be directed in the first place to these differences, and they will affect his choice in his reading. He will be carried away by the manly eloquence of Demosthenes, and will say, "This is an orator;" but when he reads Cicero, he will say, "This is a lawyer."

Speaking generally Emile will have more taste for the books of the ancients than for our own, just because they were the first, and therefore the ancients are nearer to nature and their genius is more distinct. Whatever La Motte and the Abbe Terrasson may say, there is no real advance in human reason, for what we gain in one direction we lose in another; for all minds start from the same point, and as the time spent in learning what others have thought is so much time lost in learning to think for ourselves, we have more acquired knowledge and less vigour of mind. Our minds like our arms are accustomed to use tools for everything, and to do nothing for themselves. Fontenelle used to say that all these disputes as to the ancients and the moderns came to this--Were the trees in former times taller than they are now. If agriculture had changed, it would be worth our while to ask this question.

After I have led Emile to the sources of pure literature, I will also show him the channels into the reservoirs of modern compilers; journals, translations, dictionaries, he shall cast a glance at them all, and then leave them for ever. To amuse him he shall hear the chatter of the academies; I will draw his attention to the fast that every member of them is worth more by himself than he is as a member of the society; he will then draw his own conclusions as to the utility of these fine institutions.

I take him to the theatre to study taste, not morals; for in the theatre above all taste is revealed to those who can think. Lay aside precepts and morality, I should say; this is not the place to study them. The stage is not made for truth; its object is to flatter and amuse: there is no place where one can learn so completely the art of pleasing and of interesting the human heart. The study of plays leads to the study of poetry; both have the same end in view. If he has the least glimmering of taste for poetry, how eagerly will he study the languages of the poets, Greek, Latin, and Italian! These studies will afford him unlimited amusement and will be none the less valuable; they will be a delight to him at an age and in circumstances when the heart finds so great a charm in every kind of beauty which affects it. Picture to yourself on the one hand Emile, on the other some young rascal from college, reading the fourth book of the Aeneid, or Tibollus, or the Banquet of Plato: what a difference between them! What stirs the heart of Emile to its depths, makes not the least impression on the other! Oh, good youth, stay, make a pause in your reading, you are too deeply moved; I would have you find pleasure in the language of love, but I would not have you carried away by it; be a wise man, but be a good man too. If you are only one of these, you are nothing. After this let him win fame or not in dead languages, in literature, in poetry, I care little. He will be none the worse if he knows nothing of them, and his education is not concerned with these mere words.

My main object in teaching him to feel and love beauty of every kind is to fix his affections and his taste on these, to prevent the corruption of his natural appetites, lest he should have to seek some day in the midst of his wealth for the means of happiness which should be found close at hand. I have said elsewhere that taste is only the art of being a connoisseur in matters of little importance, and this is quite true; but since the charm of life depends on a tissue of these matters of little importance, such efforts are no small thing; through their means we learn how to fill our life with the good things within our reach, with as much truth as they may hold for us. I do not refer to the morally good which depends on a good disposition of the heart, but only to that which depends on the body, on real delight, apart from the prejudices of public opinion.

The better to unfold my idea, allow me for a moment to leave Emile, whose pure and wholesome heart cannot be taken as a rule for others, and to seek in my own memory for an illustration better suited to the reader and more in accordance with his own manners.

There are professions which seem to change a man's nature, to recast, either for better or worse, the men who adopt them. A coward becomes a brave man in the regiment of Navarre. It is not only in the army that esprit de corps is acquired, and its effects are not always for good. I have thought again and again with terror that if I had the misfortune to fill a certain post I am thinking of in a certain country, before to-morrow I should certainly be a tyrant, an extortioner, a destroyer of the people, harmful to my king, and a professed enemy of mankind, a foe to justice and every kind of virtue.

In the same way, if I were rich, I should have done all that is required to gain riches; I should therefore be insolent and degraded, sensitive and feeling only on my own behalf, harsh and pitiless to all besides, a scornful spectator of the sufferings of the lower classes; for that is what I should call the poor, to make people forget that I was once poor myself. Lastly I should make my fortune a means to my own pleasures with which I should be wholly occupied; and so far I should be just like other people.

But in one respect I should be very unlike them; I should be sensual and voluptuous rather than proud and vain, and I should give myself up to the luxury of comfort rather than to that of ostentation. I should even be somewhat ashamed to make too great a show of my wealth, and if I overwhelmed the envious with my pomp I should always fancy I heard him saying, "Here is a rascal who is greatly afraid lest we should take him for anything but what he is."

In the vast profusion of good things upon this earth I should seek what I like best, and what I can best appropriate to myself.

To this end, the first use I should make of my wealth would be to purchase leisure and freedom, to which I would add health, if it were to be purchased; but health can only be bought by temperance, and as there is no real pleasure without health, I should be temperate from sensual motives.

I should also keep as close as possible to nature, to gratify the senses given me by nature, being quite convinced that, the greater her share in my pleasures, the more real I shall find them. In the choice of models for imitation I shall always choose nature as my pattern; in my appetites I will give her the preference; in my tastes she shall always be consulted; in my food I will always choose what most owes its charm to her, and what has passed through the fewest possible hands on its way to table. I will be on my guard against fraudulent shams; I will go out to meet pleasure. No cook shall grow rich on my gross and foolish greediness; he shall not poison me with fish which cost its weight in gold, my table shall not be decked with fetid splendour or putrid flesh from far-off lands. I will take any amount of trouble to gratify my sensibility, since this trouble has a pleasure of its own, a pleasure more than we expect. If I wished to taste a food from the ends of the earth, I would go, like Apicius, in search of it, rather than send for it; for the daintiest dishes always lack a charm which cannot be brought along with them, a flavour which no cook can give them--the air of the country where they are produced.

For the same reason I would not follow the example of those who are never well off where they are, but are always setting the seasons at nought, and confusing countries and their seasons; those who seek winter in summer and summer in winter, and go to Italy to be cold and to the north to be warm, do not consider that when they think they are escaping from the severity of the seasons, they are going to meet that severity in places where people are not prepared for it. I shall stay in one place, or I shall adopt just the opposite course; I should like to get all possible enjoyment out of one season to discover what is peculiar to any given country. I would have a variety of pleasures, and habits quite unlike one another, but each according to nature; I would spend the summer at Naples and the winter in St. Petersburg; sometimes I would breathe the soft zephyr lying in the cool grottoes of Tarentum, and again I would enjoy the illuminations of an ice palace, breathless and wearied with the pleasures of the dance.

In the service of my table and the adornment of my dwelling I would imitate in the simplest ornaments the variety of the seasons, and draw from each its charm without anticipating its successor. There is no taste but only difficulty to be found in thus disturbing the order of nature; to snatch from her unwilling gifts, which she yields regretfully, with her curse upon them; gifts which have neither strength nor flavour, which can neither nourish the body nor tickle the palate. Nothing is more insipid than forced fruits. A wealthy man in Paris, with all his stoves and hot-houses, only succeeds in getting all the year round poor fruit and poor vegetables for his table at a very high price. If I had cherries in frost, and golden melons in the depths of winter, what pleasure should I find in them when my palate did not need moisture or refreshment. Would the heavy chestnut be very pleasant in the heat of the dog-days; should I prefer to have it hot from the stove, rather than the gooseberry, the strawberry, the refreshing fruits which the earth takes care to provide for me. A mantelpiece covered in January with forced vegetation, with pale and scentless flowers, is not winter adorned, but spring robbed of its beauty; we deprive ourselves of the pleasure of seeking the first violet in the woods, of noting the earliest buds, and exclaiming in a rapture of delight, "Mortals, you are not forsaken, nature is living still."

To be well served I would have few servants; this has been said before, but it is worth saying again. A tradesman gets more real service from his one man than a duke from the ten gentlemen round about him. It has often struck me when I am sitting at table with my glass beside me that I can drink whenever I please; whereas, if I were dining in state, twenty men would have to call for "Wine" before I could quench my thirst. You may be sure that whatever is done for you by other people is ill done. I would not send to the shops, I would go myself; I would go so that my servants should not make their own terms with the shopkeepers, and to get a better choice and cheaper prices; I would go for the sake of pleasant exercise and to get a glimpse of what was going on out of doors; this is amusing and sometimes instructive; lastly I would go for the sake of the walk; there is always something in that. A sedentary life is the source of tedium; when we walk a good deal we are never dull. A porter and footmen are poor interpreters, I should never wish to have such people between the world and myself, nor would I travel with all the fuss of a coach, as if I were afraid people would speak to me. Shanks' mare is always ready; if she is tired or ill, her owner is the first to know it; he need not be afraid of being kept at home while his coachman is on the spree; on the road he will not have to submit to all sorts of delays, nor will he be consumed with impatience, nor compelled to stay in one place a moment longer than he chooses. Lastly, since no one serves us so well as we serve ourselves, had we the power of Alexander and the wealth of Croesus we should accept no services from others, except those we cannot perform for ourselves.

I would not live in a palace; for even in a palace I should only occupy one room; every room which is common property belongs to nobody, and the rooms of each of my servants would be as strange to me as my neighbour's. The Orientals, although very voluptuous, are lodged in plain and simply furnished dwellings. They consider life as a journey, and their house as an inn. This reason scarcely appeals to us rich people who propose to live for ever; but I should find another reason which would have the same effect. It would seem to me that if I settled myself in one place in the midst of such splendour, I should banish myself from every other place, and imprison myself, so to speak, in my palace. The world is a palace fair enough for any one; and is not everything at the disposal of the rich man when he seeks enjoyment? "Ubi bene, ibi patria," that is his motto; his home is anywhere where money will carry him, his country is anywhere where there is room for his strong-box, as Philip considered as his own any place where a mule laden with silver could enter. (Footnote: A stranger, splendidly clad, was asked in Athens what country he belonged to. "I am one of the rich," was his answer; and a very good answer in my opinion.) Why then should we shut ourselves up within walls and gates as if we never meant to leave them? If pestilence, war, or rebellion drive me from one place, I go to another, and I find my hotel there before me. Why should I build a mansion for myself when the world is already at my disposal? Why should I be in such a hurry to live, to bring from afar delights which I can find on the spot? It is impossible to make a pleasant life for oneself when one is always at war with oneself. Thus Empedocles reproached the men of Agrigentum with heaping up pleasures as if they had but one day to live, and building as if they would live for ever.

And what use have I for so large a dwelling, as I have so few people to live in it, and still fewer goods to fill it? My furniture would be as simple as my tastes; I would have neither picture-gallery nor library, especially if I was fond of reading and knew something about pictures. I should then know that such collections are never complete, and that the lack of that which is wanting causes more annoyance than if one had nothing at all. In this respect abundance is the cause of want, as every collector knows to his cost. If you are an expert, do not make a collection; if you know how to use your cabinets, you will not have any to show.

Gambling is no sport for the rich, it is the resource of those who have nothing to do; I shall be so busy with my pleasures that I shall have no time to waste. I am poor and lonely and I never play, unless it is a game of chess now and then, and that is more than enough. If I were rich I would play even less, and for very low stakes, so that I should not be disappointed myself, nor see the disappointment of others. The wealthy man has no motive for play, and the love of play will not degenerate into the passion for gambling unless the disposition is evil. The rich man is always more keenly aware of his losses than his gains, and as in games where the stakes are not high the winnings are generally exhausted in the long run, he will usually lose more than he gains, so that if we reason rightly we shall scarcely take a great fancy to games where the odds are against us. He who flatters his vanity so far as to believe that Fortune favours him can seek her favour in more exciting ways; and her favours are just as clearly shown when the stakes are low as when they are high. The taste for play, the result of greed and dullness, only lays hold of empty hearts and heads; and I think I should have enough feeling and knowledge to dispense with its help. Thinkers are seldom gamblers; gambling interrupts the habit of thought and turns it towards barren combinations; thus one good result, perhaps the only good result of the taste for science, is that it deadens to some extent this vulgar passion; people will prefer to try to discover the uses of play rather than to devote themselves to it. I should argue with the gamblers against gambling, and I should find more delight in scoffing at their losses than in winning their money.

I should be the same in private life as in my social intercourse. I should wish my fortune to bring comfort in its train, and never to make people conscious of inequalities of wealth. Showy dress is inconvenient in many ways. To preserve as much freedom as possible among other men, I should like to be dressed in such a way that I should not seem out of place among all classes, and should not attract attention in any; so that without affectation or change I might mingle with the crowd at the inn or with the nobility at the Palais Royal. In this way I should be more than ever my own master, and should be free to enjoy the pleasures of all sorts and conditions of men. There are women, so they say, whose doors are closed to embroidered cuffs, women who will only receive guests who wear lace ruffles; I should spend my days elsewhere; though if these women were young and pretty I might sometimes put on lace ruffles to spend an evening or so in their company.

Mutual affection, similarity of tastes, suitability of character; these are the only bonds between my companions and myself; among them I would be a man, not a person of wealth; the charm of their society should never be embittered by self-seeking. If my wealth had not robbed me of all humanity, I would scatter my benefits and my services broadcast, but I should want companions about me, not courtiers, friends, not proteges; I should wish my friends to regard me as their host, not their patron. Independence and equality would leave to my relations with my friends the sincerity of goodwill; while duty and self-seeking would have no place among us, and we should know no law but that of pleasure and friendship.

Neither a friend nor a mistress can be bought. Women may be got for money, but that road will never lead to love. Love is not only not for sale; money strikes it dead. If a man pays, were he indeed the most lovable of men, the mere fact of payment would prevent any lasting affection. He will soon be paying for some one else, or rather some one else will get his money; and in this double connection based on self-seeking and debauchery, without love, honour, or true pleasure, the woman is grasping, faithless, and unhappy, and she is treated by the wretch to whom she gives her money as she treats the fool who gives his money to her; she has no love for either. It would be sweet to lie generous towards one we love, if that did not make a bargain of love. I know only one way of gratifying this desire with the woman one loves without embittering love; it is to bestow our all upon her and to live at her expense. It remains to be seen whether there is any woman with regard to whom such conduct would not be unwise.

He who said, "Lais is mine, but I am not hers," was talking nonsense. Possession which is not mutual is nothing at all; at most it is the possession of the sex not of the individual. But where there is no morality in love, why make such ado about the rest? Nothing is so easy to find. A muleteer is in this respect as near to happiness as a millionaire.

Oh, if we could thus trace out the unreasonableness of vice, how often should we find that, when it has attained its object, it discovers it is not what it seemed! Why is there this cruel haste to corrupt innocence, to make, a victim of a young creature whom we ought to protect, one who is dragged by this first false step into a gulf of misery from which only death can release her? Brutality, vanity, folly, error, and nothing more. This pleasure itself is unnatural; it rests on popular opinion, and popular opinion at its worst, since it depends on scorn of self. He who knows he is the basest of men fears comparison with others, and would be the first that he may be less hateful. See if those who are most greedy in pursuit of such fancied pleasures are ever attractive young men--men worthy of pleasing, men who might have some excuse if they were hard to please. Not so; any one with good looks, merit, and feeling has little fear of his mistress' experience; with well-placed confidence he says to her, "You know what pleasure is, what is that to me? my heart assures me that this is not so."

But an aged satyr, worn out with debauchery, with no charm, no consideration, no thought for any but himself, with no shred of honour, incapable and unworthy of finding favour in the eyes of any woman who knows anything of men deserving of love, expects to make up for all this with an innocent girl by trading on her inexperience and stirring her emotions for the first time. His last hope is to find favour as a novelty; no doubt this is the secret motive of this desire; but he is mistaken, the horror he excites is just as natural as the desires he wishes to arouse. He is also mistaken in his foolish attempt; that very nature takes care to assert her rights; every girl who sells herself is no longer a maid; she has given herself to the man of her choice, and she is making the very comparison he dreads. The pleasure purchased is imaginary, but none the less hateful.

For my own part, however riches may change me, there is one matter in which I shall never change. If I have neither morals nor virtue, I shall not be wholly without taste, without sense, without delicacy; and this will prevent me from spending my fortune in the pursuit of empty dreams, from wasting my money and my strength in teaching children to betray me and mock at me. If I were young, I would seek the pleasures of youth; and as I would have them at their best I would not seek them in the guise of a rich man. If I were at my present age, it would be another matter; I would wisely confine myself to the pleasures of my age; I would form tastes which I could enjoy, and I would stifle those which could only cause suffering. I would not go and offer my grey beard to the scornful jests of young girls; I could never bear to sicken them with my disgusting caresses, to furnish them at my expense with the most absurd stories, to imagine them describing the vile pleasures of the old ape, so as to avenge themselves for what they had endured. But if habits unresisted had changed my former desires into needs, I would perhaps satisfy those needs, but with shame and blushes. I would distinguish between passion and necessity, I would find a suitable mistress and would keep to her. I would not make a business of my weakness, and above all I would only have one person aware of it. Life has other pleasures when these fail us; by hastening in vain after those that fly us, we deprive ourselves of those that remain. Let our tastes change with our years, let us no more meddle with age than with the seasons. We should be ourselves at all times, instead of struggling against nature; such vain attempts exhaust our strength and prevent the right use of life.

The lower classes are seldom dull, their life is full of activity; if there is little variety in their amusements they do not recur frequently; many days of labour teach them to enjoy their rare holidays. Short intervals of leisure between long periods of labour give a spice to the pleasures of their station. The chief curse of the rich is dullness; in the midst of costly amusements, among so many men striving to give them pleasure, they are devoured and slain by dullness; their life is spent in fleeing from it and in being overtaken by it; they are overwhelmed by the intolerable burden; women more especially, who do not know how to work or play, are a prey to tedium under the name of the vapours; with them it takes the shape of a dreadful disease, which robs them of their reason and even of their life. For my own part I know no more terrible fate than that of a pretty woman in Paris, unless it is that of the pretty manikin who devotes himself to her, who becomes idle and effeminate like her, and so deprives himself twice over of his manhood, while he prides himself on his successes and for their sake endures the longest and dullest days which human being ever put up with.

Proprieties, fashions, customs which depend on luxury and breeding, confine the course of life within the limits of the most miserable uniformity. The pleasure we desire to display to others is a pleasure lost; we neither enjoy it ourselves, nor do others enjoy it. (Footnote: Two ladies of fashion, who wished to seem to be enjoying themselves greatly, decided never to go to bed before five o'clock in the morning. In the depths of winter their servants spent the night in the street waiting for them, and with great difficulty kept themselves from freezing. One night, or rather one morning, some one entered the room where these merry people spent their hours without knowing how time passed. He found them quite alone; each of them was asleep in her arm-chair.) Ridicule, which public opinion dreads more than anything, is ever at hand to tyrannise, and punish. It is only ceremony that makes us ridiculous; if we can vary our place and our pleasures, to-day's impressions can efface those of yesterday; in the mind of men they are as if they had never been; but we enjoy ourselves for we throw ourselves into every hour and everything. My only set rule would be this: wherever I was I would pay no heed to anything else. I would take each day as it came, as if there were neither yesterday nor to-morrow. As I should be a man of the people, with the populace, I should be a countryman in the fields; and if I spoke of farming, the peasant should not laugh at my expense. I would not go and build a town in the country nor erect the Tuileries at the door of my lodgings. On some pleasant shady hill-side I would have a little cottage, a white house with green shutters, and though a thatched roof is the best all the year round, I would be grand enough to have, not those gloomy slates, but tiles, because they look brighter and more cheerful than thatch, and the houses in my own country are always roofed with them, and so they would recall to me something of the happy days of my youth. For my courtyard I would have a poultry-yard, and for my stables a cowshed for the sake of the milk which I love. My garden should be a kitchen-garden, and my park an orchard, like the one described further on. The fruit would be free to those who walked in the orchard, my gardener should neither count it nor gather it; I would not, with greedy show, display before your eyes superb espaliers which one scarcely dare touch. But this small extravagance would not be costly, for I would choose my abode in some remote province where silver is scarce and food plentiful, where plenty and poverty have their seat.

There I would gather round me a company, select rather than numerous, a band of friends who know what pleasure is, and how to enjoy it, women who can leave their arm-chairs and betake themselves to outdoor sports, women who can exchange the shuttle or the cards for the fishing line or the bird-trap, the gleaner's rake or grape-gatherer's basket. There all the pretensions of the town will be forgotten, and we shall be villagers in a village; we shall find all sorts of different sports and we shall hardly know how to choose the morrow's occupation. Exercise and an active life will improve our digestion and modify our tastes. Every meal will be a feast, where plenty will be more pleasing than any delicacies. There are no such cooks in the world as mirth, rural pursuits, and merry games; and the finest made dishes are quite ridiculous in the eyes of people who have been on foot since early dawn. Our meals will be served without regard to order or elegance; we shall make our dining-room anywhere, in the garden, on a boat, beneath a tree; sometimes at a distance from the house on the banks of a running stream, on the fresh green grass, among the clumps of willow and hazel; a long procession of guests will carry the material for the feast with laughter and singing; the turf will be our chairs and table, the banks of the stream our side-board, and our dessert is hanging on the trees; the dishes will be served in any order, appetite needs no ceremony; each one of us, openly putting himself first, would gladly see every one else do the same; from this warm-hearted and temperate familiarity there would arise, without coarseness, pretence, or constraint, a laughing conflict a hundredfold more delightful than politeness, and more likely to cement our friendship. No tedious flunkeys to listen to our words, to whisper criticisms on our behaviour, to count every mouthful with greedy eyes, to amuse themselves by keeping us waiting for our wine, to complain of the length of our dinner. We will be our own servants, in order to be our own masters. Time will fly unheeded, our meal will be an interval of rest during the heat of the day. If some peasant comes our way, returning from his work with his tools over his shoulder, I will cheer his heart with kindly words, and a glass or two of good wine, which will help him to bear his poverty more cheerfully; and I too shall have the joy of feeling my heart stirred within me, and I should say to myself--I too am a man.

If the inhabitants of the district assembled for some rustic feast, I and my friends would be there among the first; if there were marriages, more blessed than those of towns, celebrated near my home, every one would know how I love to see people happy, and I should be invited. I would take these good folks some gift as simple as themselves, a gift which would be my share of the feast; and in exchange I should obtain gifts beyond price, gifts so little known among my equals, the gifts of freedom and true pleasure. I should sup gaily at the head of their long table; I should join in the chorus of some rustic song and I should dance in the barn more merrily than at a ball in the Opera House.

"This is all very well so far," you will say, "but what about the shooting! One must have some sport in the country." Just so; I only wanted a farm, but I was wrong. I assume I am rich, I must keep my pleasures to myself, I must be free to kill something; this is quite another matter. I must have estates, woods, keepers, rents, seignorial rights, particularly incense and holy water.

Well and good. But I shall have neighbours about my estate who are jealous of their rights and anxious to encroach on those of others; our keepers will quarrel, and possibly their masters will quarrel too; this means altercations, disputes, ill-will, or law-suits at the least; this in itself is not very pleasant. My tenants will not enjoy finding my hares at work upon their corn, or my wild boars among their beans. As they dare not kill the enemy, every one of them will try to drive him from their fields; when the day has been spent in cultivating the ground, they will be compelled to sit up at night to watch it; they will have watch-dogs, drums, horns, and bells; my sleep will be disturbed by their racket. Do what I will, I cannot help thinking of the misery of these poor people, and I cannot help blaming myself for it. If I had the honour of being a prince, this would make little impression on me; but as I am a self-made man who has only just come into his property, I am still rather vulgar at heart.

That is not all; abundance of game attracts trespassers; I shall soon have poachers to punish; I shall require prisons, gaolers, guards, and galleys; all this strikes me as cruel. The wives of those miserable creatures will besiege my door and disturb me with their crying; they must either be driven away or roughly handled. The poor people who are not poachers, whose harvest has been destroyed by my game, will come next with their complaints. Some people will be put to death for killing the game, the rest will be punished for having spared it; what a choice of evils! On every side I shall find nothing but misery and hear nothing but groans. So far as I can see this must greatly disturb the pleasure of slaying at one's ease heaps of partridges and hares which are tame enough to run about one's feet.

If you would have pleasure without pain let there be no monopoly; the more you leave it free to everybody, the purer will be your own enjoyment. Therefore I should not do what I have just described, but without change of tastes I would follow those which seem likely to cause me least pain. I would fix my rustic abode in a district where game is not preserved, and where I can have my sport without hindrance. Game will be less plentiful, but there will be more skill in finding it, and more pleasure in securing it. I remember the start of delight with which my father watched the rise of his first partridge and the rapture with which he found the hare he had sought all day long. Yes, I declare, that alone with his dog, carrying his own gun, cartridges, and game bag together with his hare, he came home at nightfall, worn out with fatigue and torn to pieces by brambles, but better pleased with his day's sport than all your ordinary sportsmen, who on a good horse, with twenty guns ready for them, merely take one gun after another, and shoot and kill everything that comes their way, without skill, without glory, and almost without exercise. The pleasure is none the less, and the difficulties are removed; there is no estate to be preserved, no poacher to be punished, and no wretches to be tormented; here are solid grounds for preference. Whatever you do, you cannot torment men for ever without experiencing some amount of discomfort; and sooner or later the muttered curses of the people will spoil the flavour of your game.

Again, monopoly destroys pleasure. Real pleasures are those which we share with the crowd; we lose what we try to keep to ourselves alone. If the walls I build round my park transform it into a gloomy prison, I have only deprived myself, at great expense, of the pleasure of a walk; I must now seek that pleasure at a distance. The demon of property spoils everything he lays hands upon. A rich man wants to be master everywhere, and he is never happy where he is; he is continually driven to flee from himself. I shall therefore continue to do in my prosperity what I did in my poverty. Henceforward, richer in the wealth of others than I ever shall be in my own wealth, I will take possession of everything in my neighbourhood that takes my fancy; no conqueror is so determined as I; I even usurp the rights of princes; I take possession of every open place that pleases me, I give them names; this is my park, chat is my terrace, and I am their owner; henceforward I wander among them at will; I often return to maintain my proprietary rights; I make what use I choose of the ground to walk upon, and you will never convince me that the nominal owner of the property which I have appropriated gets better value out of the money it yields him than I do out of his land. No matter if I am interrupted by hedges and ditches, I take my park on my back, and I carry it elsewhere; there will be space enough for it near at hand, and I may plunder my neighbours long enough before I outstay my welcome.

This is an attempt to show what is meant by good taste in the choice of pleasant occupations for our leisure hours; this is the spirit of enjoyment; all else is illusion, fancy, and foolish pride. He who disobeys these rules, however rich he may be, will devour his gold on a dung-hill, and will never know what it is to live.

You will say, no doubt, that such amusements lie within the reach of all, that we need not be rich to enjoy them. That is the very point I was coming to. Pleasure is ours when we want it; it is only social prejudice which makes everything hard to obtain, and drives pleasure before us. To be happy is a hundredfold easier than it seems. If he really desires to enjoy himself the man of taste has no need of riches; all he wants is to be free and to be his own master. With health and daily bread we are rich enough, if we will but get rid of our prejudices; this is the "Golden Mean" of Horace. You folks with your strong-boxes may find some other use for your wealth, for it cannot buy you pleasure. Emile knows this as well as I, but his heart is purer and more healthy, so he will feel it more strongly, and all that he has beheld in society will only serve to confirm him in this opinion.

While our time is thus employed, we are ever on the look-out for Sophy, and we have not yet found her. It was not desirable that she should be found too easily, and I have taken care to look for her where I knew we should not find her.

The time is come; we must now seek her in earnest, lest Emile should mistake some one else for Sophy, and only discover his error when it is too late. Then farewell Paris, far-famed Paris, with all your noise and smoke and dirt, where the women have ceased to believe in honour and the men in virtue. We are in search of love, happiness, innocence; the further we go from Paris the better.

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Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 5 Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 5

Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 5
We have reached the last act of youth's drams; we are approaching its closing scene.It is not good that man should be alone. Emile is now a man, and we must give him his promised helpmeet. That helpmeet is Sophy. Where is her dwelling-place shall she be found? We must know beforehand what she is, and then we can decide where to look for her. And when she is found, our task is not ended. "Since our young gentleman," says Locke, "is about to marry, it is time to leave him with his mistress." And with these words he ends

Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 4 Continued 4 Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 4 Continued 4

Emile; Or, On Education - BOOK 4 Continued 4
"See what your so-called supernatural proofs, your miracles, your prophecies come to: believe all this upon the word of another, Submit to the authority of men the authority of God which speaks to my reason. If the eternal truths which my mind conceives of could suffer any shock, there would be no sort of certainty for me; and far from being sure that you speak to me on God's behalf, I should not even be sure that there is a God."My child, here are difficulties enough, but these are not all. Among so many religions, mutually excluding and proscribing each other,