Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXX.: To the Abbé and Count de Guasco, at Paris. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
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LETTER XXX.: To the Abbé and Count de Guasco, at Paris. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 4.
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To the Abbé and Count de Guasco, at Paris.
IN order to prove, illustrious Abbé, how much you were in the wrong to quit me, and for how short a time I can exist without you, I hereby give notice that I am to set out to-morrow for Paris in quest of you. For since your departure I feel such an irksomeness diffused over my mind, as makes me to think I am incapacitated either for enjoying myself, or doing any thing with satisfaction to myself. It was very weak in you not to have paid a visit to the archbishop* , since you stopt for some time at Tours. Perhaps he was the only person you ought to have seen; you would have met with a most agreeable reception. You should also have made a short trip on the left to Verret, where the Duke and Dutchess of Aiguillon would have applauded your politeness for so doing; and surely that was a matter of more importance than going to the Abbey of Marmoutier, where there was nothing to be seen but Gothic works, and old dusty papers that must have hurt your eyes by poring on them. The anecdote of your Irish friend at Nantz, afforded me no small diversion. It was very natural for a banker to imagine, that when a travelling gentleman spoke to him about academies, he meant those of gaming, and not of literature; besides, as a money-dealing man, he had nothing to gain by the transactions of the latter. Thus the vicar sees in a dream the steeple of his parish-church, and his servant maid her master’s breeches. I knew very well that you had given sufficient proofs of your being a rambler, but till now had never surmised your having qualifications to be a courier. M. Stuart says you have quite exhausted him with fatigue. The next time that you embark your person, be so good as to embark your chaise, because people cannot labour so easily against the current of a river, as they can fall down with it. I hope that you are not in a hurry to visit England; it would be very unkind of you not to wait for a person who undertakes a journey of an hundred and fifty leagues to see you. I propose being at Paris about the 17th. You have time enough to remove to the Rue des Rosiers, for you must not be lodged too far from me.
Bourdeaux, July 2, 1749.
A Billet to the Same.
M. d’Estouteville* , my dear Abbé, persecutes me to prevail on you to grant him a fixed hour every evening, in order to finish the reading and correction of his translation of Dante. He promises to be implicitly amenable to all the alterations† you shall think necessary for him to make.
He solicits your indulgence only for his preface‡ . You are not ignorant that he has a very particular style, from which he will not depart, even when he speaks to ministers* . Let me know what answer I am to make to him. Remember he is to call on you every evening, until the lecture of his translation shall be finished.
[* ]M. de Rastignac, one of the most illustrious prelates of his time in France.
[* ]The Count de Colbert d’Estouteville, was grandson of the great Colbert, a man of wit, but of a very singular cast. He resolved on translating Dante into French. This project had been a long time executed in prose, on which he wanted to consult some able Italian. This translation has never been printed.
[† ]This translator had inserted in his text several thoughts and passages taken from the various commentaries upon this poet. Contrary to promise, he did not always prove tractable to the corrections he was advised to make, which put an end to the reading, and their meeting any more upon the subject.
[‡ ]It is a very extraordinary one, and very short, he says, that in his infancy, the attendant woman charged with the care of him, frequently spoke of Paradise, Hell, Purgatory, without giving him any distinct notions of what they were; and that as he grew up, his preceptor often repeated the same words without throwing any light on them: that when he was arrived at the years of maturity, he consulted several theologists about their precise meaning, who left him equally in the dark. But on his travelling in Italy, he found in the first poet of that country satisfactory information concerning the nature of those three abodes in the other world, and that determined him to translate the work into French for the good of his fellow citizens.
[* ]He one day put a question to M. de Chauvelin, then keeper of the seals, concerning a suit of law he was then carrying on relative to the ducal title of d’Eouteville, which was contested with him. The minister, in his reply, made use of these words, “Sir, I tell you, that neither the King, the Cardinal, nor I, will ever consent,”—upon which d’Estouteville replied immediately, — “upon my word, Sir, you have placed the King between a pretty couple of ear-bobs, you and the Cardinal.—I am the son and grandson of ministers, yet if either my father or grand-father had presumed to make use of such impertinent terms, they would have been sent to a mad-house.”—He then withdrew.