LET. III. To Monsieur L' HUILLIER Counsellour to the King, and Ordi∣nary Mr of his Accounts.
YOU can make men happy, and procure them Sun-shine daies, where, & when you please. Let us speake no more of misfor∣tunes: there is nothing here within but prosperity, since the Ordinary hath arriv'd: and J must recall a language which J have forgotten, since you doe restore a passion to me which J had lost. J thought there was no disposition to any joy left in me, yet notwithstanding from a litle sparke rak'd up in my bosome, you have kindled such an excesse, that J never felt the like; Page 12 such inebriations of the spirit, and sober transportments Philosophy hath observ'd in extraordinary suc∣cesses. There is no way Sir to sup∣presse or keep this joy conceal'd, & if it be lawfull for me to speake it, my heart is so full and▪ high that it mounts up to my face. J am like to loose by it all the gravity and de∣murenes, which J have these many yeares contracted by my melan∣choly life. And since there is no ap∣parēt cause that might stirre such a passion in such a languishing spirit as mine, men may imagine that I paid some Arreres, and that I have received an acquittance pa∣tent, but that I call it your letter. They still deceive themselves and take me for another mā than I am: for my Interests touch me not so sensibly as my passions doe, and Page 13Fortune is not so rich as to present me with any thing that might countervaile the least pledges of your Amity. The world and I, doe not agree in the rate of things that are bestowed & received. That doth estimate them by an Arithmeticall, and I by a Morall proportion, ac∣cording to which, Sir, all your words to me are weighty and pre∣tious, because all true; and because Truth cannot be sufficiently estima∣ted in a time when Oracles doe faine, whē we have reason to mis∣trust even Faith it selfe, and when the great Cato should not be taken without caution and security. I doe infinitely cherish those speeches of yours, so full of verity, and preserve them as the titles of a possession, which I passionatly desired before J went to Paris, and which I ac∣count Page 14 for the greatest businesse that I did dureing my abode there. Jn lieu of these, I will forgive Paris for all the unquiet nights, and other mischiefes I suffered there. I com∣plaine no more of its impure aire, or the jangling of bells, or of the justling and dirt of the streets. And though I could not carry a∣way thence but the bare Idea of your entertainment, yet be∣sides that you defrayed the char∣ges of my journey in it, J can live here (yet awhile) upon your charges, & feed my thoughts a long time with what I have re∣ceived from your mouth. Yet J know not whether a provident managing of remnants, may make them last alwaies, or whether old Ideas, doe not at the last fade and vanish out of the memory, or whe∣ther Page 15 an expired felicity may deno∣minate a man still happy. What e∣ver joy your letter sprang in me, yet (being a marke of your absence) it doth but advertise me, that I am six-score leagues distant from the Au∣thor of my wellfare, and that there∣fore I can receive but imaginary painted satisfaction, and enjoy but forraine pleasures. You cannot re∣presente unto me the happy houers that I have spent in the closet of Messieurs de Puy, and the fine things that I have heard there, with∣out tacitely upbraiding me with the pensive howers of my solitude, and the gibbrish of my Neighbour∣hood. In truth Sir, if you know it not, J must tell you, that Balzac is the frontier of Barbary. But one daies journey from hence, (Monsi∣eur des Cordes can tell you) the ho∣nest Page 16Swaines doe not eat bread, or speak French but upon sundaies; The most understanding men there, believe that Prester-Iohn saith Masse; and that the snow in the country of the Moores is black, the most gentle and affable find in an innocent word, the tenth part of a lye; and are offended with the very aspect and silence of a man that passeth by. Are not these the right Antipodes to the lodgings of Mon∣sieur de Thou, and especially of the Gallery, which is not only full of the noblest spoiles of Antiquity, and and of Greek and Romane Trea∣sures, but which is (otherwise) in∣habited by all the Graces of the pre∣sent Age, and all the sociable and civill Virtues. Yet notwithstanding these, it might deserve the curiosi∣ty of the remotest Nations of the Page 17 Earth, and invite the inhabitants of Cadiz, and those beyond them, for to see there the great President of Counsels and humane acti∣ons, and the grand Doctor of Kings and Common-wealths. But al∣though this famous and learned Head appears not there but by the benefit of paint, yet his memory still keeps its place, and presides in all the Assemblies that happen there. Me thinks, that of Master of the house, He is become the Genius of the place, and inspires all those that speak there, that so they might not speak any thing unworthy of his presence. Indeed this is the cause of my happinesse here, that my poore conceptions give you some content, as you would make me believe; and that my adventures in print, have the allowance and ap∣probation Page 18 of those excellent Bro∣thers, my deare and loving Friends. Now Sir, that I begin to grow so∣ber againe, and to recover my selfe from that extasie, which you have cast me into; take good heed, that you make no doubt of the serious∣nesse of my speeches: assure them therefore, if you please, that the fa∣vours that I have receiv'd from them, are not let fall, into a barren and ungratefull soule, and that it is impossible to honour Them more perfectly then I doe. You shall doe me the favour also; as to be∣lieve, that you never lov'd a man that could set a higher rate upon your amity, or would be more then I am
Balzac Nov. 23. 1636.