EGO. "'Oh, that is true! But leave them their natural notes; profit by their bravery, their alertness (LEGERETE), by their very faults,--I believe their confusion might confuse their enemies sometimes.'
KING. "'Well, yes, doubtless, if you have something to support them with.'
EGO. "'Just so, Sire,--some Swiss and Germans.'
KING. "''T is a brave and amiable nation, the French; one can't help loving them:--but, MON DIEU, what have they made of their Men of Letters; and what a tone has now come up among them! Voltaire, for example, had an excellent tone. D'Alembert, whom I esteem in many respects, is too noisy, and insists too much on producing effect in society:--was it the Men of Letters that gave the Court of Louis XIV. its grace, or did they themselves acquire it from the many amiable persons they found there? He was the Patriarch of Kings, that one [in a certain sense, your Majesty!]. In his lifetime a little too much good was said of him; but a great deal too much ill after his death.'
EGO. "'A King of France, Sire, is always the Patriarch of Clever People (PATRIARCHE DES GENS D'ESPRIT:' You do not much mean this, Monsieur? You merely grin it from the teeth outward?)
KING. "'That is the bad Number to draw: they are n't worth a doit (NE VALENT PAS LE DIABLE, these GENS D'ESPRIT) at Governing. Better be Patriarch of the Greek Church, like my sister the Empress of Russia! That brings her, and will bring, advantages. There's a religion for you; comprehending many Countries and different Nations! As to our poor Lutherans, they are so few, it is not worth while being their Patriarch.'
EGO. "'Nevertheless, Sire, if one join to them the Calvinists, and all the little bastard Sects, it would not be so bad a post. [The King appeared to kindle at this; his eyes were full of animation. But it did not last when I said:] If the Kaiser were Patriarch of the Catholics, that too wouldn't be a bad place.'
KING. "'There, there: Europe divided into Three Patriarchates. I was wrong to begin; you see where that leads us: Messieurs, our dreams are not those of the just, as M. le Regent used to say. If Louis XIV. were alive, he would thank us.'
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