Henri Beyle a.k.a. Stendahl (Memoirs of Egotism), Rome, June 20, 1832:
Have I a remarkable mind? To tell the truth, I do not know. Moreover I rarely ponder over these basic questions because I live for the moment, and besides my judgments vary with my moods. My judgments are no more than fleeting impressions.Oh, those insufferable French. Dainty, self-serving, and wholly faux under the sad “sincere” shuffle cadences of experimentalism.
As I begin this self-examination, pen in hand, let us see whether I shall arrive at something positive, something that will remain true for a long time in my own eyes. How shall I react to what I am writing about now when rereading it, say, in 1835, if I live till then? Will it be the same as in the case of my printed works? A deep feeling of melancholy comes over me whenever, for want of other books, I read my own again.
Akin to “an apocryphal anecdote” the editor, Matthew Josephson recounts in a footnote “about Talleyrand’s arranging a hunt for Napoleon.”
Since the Foreign Minister had no game in his park at Auteuil, he ordered some 5,000 tame rabbits at the Paris market and let them loose on the grounds. Having been starved for a day the rabbits, instead of fleeing before the hunters, ran up to them, and Napoleon is said to have killed a large number before he realized that it was all a trick. The tale goes on to the effect that Talleyrand let loose a big black pig from his own barnyard in the Bois de Boulogne so that Napoleon could have the pleasure of hunting “big game.”~
Note, citoyens, the side whiskers.
Oh, to make a career of sneering.