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Saying of the DUC DE SULLY (1560-1641).
Le manteau troué de la dictature. (Dictatorship's mantle full of holes.) Journal Officiel. Débats parlementaires, p. 1267.
In a speech by C.-T. FLOQUET (1828-96) in the French Chamber, Apr. 19, 1888, alluding to General Boulanger (1837-91).
Cf. Socrates' saying, of which the above is an application.
Le mot impossible n'est pas français. (The word im
possible is not French). Saying of NAPOLEON (1769-1821). "Ce n'est pas possible m'écrivezvous cela n'est pas français. (It is not possible, you write that is not French). Napoleon's letter Lémarois, July 9, 1813. Cf. Impossibilium nulla obligatio. (There can be no obligation to perform the impossible). Latin law maxim. "Impossible est un mot que je ne dis jamais.' (Impossible is a word that I never utter). Collin d'Harleville, Malice pour malice, act I, sc. 8. "En effet, j'aurais [Fouché] 'dû me rappeler que Votre Majesté
is said that the MARQUIS DE FEUQUIERES (1648-1711) in the time of Louis XIV said to an officer who excused himself for not having attacked a certain post because it was "inattaquable": 'Monsieur, ce mot-là n'est pas français." (Sir, that word is not French). Another version: "Im"possible, monsieur? sachez que ce mot n'est pas français." (Impossible, sir, know that that word, etc). Attributed to a French general in the wars of the Republic, an officer having said that a perilous attack was impossible. Cf. Impossible! ne me dites jamais ce bête de mot ("Impossible! never name to me that block head of a word.") Carlyle, The French Revolution (1837, vol. 2, p. 172). Said by MIRABEAU (1749-91) to his secreary: "Impossible! dit-il en se "soulevant de sa chaise; ne me "dites jamais ce bête de mot" (Impossible! said he rising from his chair; never say that stupid word to me.) Dumont, Souvenirs sur Mirabeau 1832, p. 218. Cf. the remark attributed to the COMTE D'
AUTEROCHES ( ) à propos of the siege of Maestricht to someone who spoke of the town as impregnable (imprenable)" Ce mot-là, Monsieur, n'est pas français." (That word, sir, is not French.)-Dugast-Dubois de Saint-Just. Paris la Cour et les Provinces, vol. 1, p. 6. Also attributed to the DUC DE BOURBON in 1744, referring to a town in Piedmont. Carlyle in his essay "Mirabeau" refers to La Fontaine's (Contes, bk. iv. 15) conte, "La chose impossible." See Impossible, sir! don't talk to me of impossibilities.
L'empire, c'est la paix. (The
In a speech at Bordeaux, Oct. 9,
1852, by Prince LOUIS NAPOLEON (1808-73) president of the French Republic (afterwards Napoleon III). L'empire est au flegmatique.
(The Empire belongs to the calm person). E. Hamel, Hist. de St. Just, p. 279 (1859). ANTOINE SAINT-JUST (1767 or 8-94) to ROBESPIERRE (1758-94) who lost his temper in a debate.
Cf. "Il mondo è de' flemmatici", (The world belongs to the phlegmatic ones). Italian proverb. L'empire est fait.
is a fact). Le Moniteur, Jan. 18, 1851, p. 187.
L.-A. THIERS (1797-1877)-Jan. 17, 1851, in the French Assembly. See Voici l'empire.
Le mur de la vie privée. (The
wall of private life).
Expression originating in a phrase used in a speech by P.-P. ROYERCOLLARD (1763-1846), Apr. 27, 1819. "Voilà donc la vie privée "murée, si je puis me servir de "cette expression . . ." (Private life is therefore shut in by walls, if I may be permitted the expression.) Le Moniteur universel, Apr. 29, 1819, p. 529. He repeated the phrase Mar. 7, 1827: "la vie privée doit être murée." (Private life ought to be within walls.)
TALLEYRAND (1754-1838), according to Stendhal, is credited with the phrase in a letter to M. Colomb, Oct. 31, 1823. "La vie "privée d'un citoyen doit être "murée." (The private life of a citizen ought to be within walls).
Cf. Alphonse Karr Les Guêpes,
L'entente cordiale. (The cordial understanding).
LOUIS-PHILIPPE (1773-1850) in a speech at the opening of Parliament, Dec. 27, 1843, said. "La "sincère amitié qui m'unit à la "reine de la Grande Bretagne et la "cordiale entente qui existe entre
mon gouvernement et le sien," etc. (The sincere friendship between me and the queen of Great Britain and the cordial understanding exist. ing between my government and hers, etc. The phrase "A cordial good understanding" however, is said to have been used at an earlier date by LORD ABERDEEN (17841860), with regard to France and England, in a private letter to his brother, Sir Robert Gordon (17911847) ambassador at Vienna.-Hist. de la Monarchie de juillet, vol. 5, p. 207. Name adopted by an AngloFrench (non-political) Association founded 1897, with the object of promoting a "cordial understanding between the English and the French peoples," etc.
Le pauvre homme! (Poor man !)
From Molière's (1622-73) Tartuffe (act 1, sc. 5), but said to have been suggested to the poet by LOUIS XIV (1638-1715) alluding to a repast made by Péréfixe, bishop of Rodez, although this is disputed by (A.) Bazin, les Dernières années de Molière. According to Tallement des Réaux (Historiettes, vol. 2, p. 245) it is a Capucine monk and not LOUIS XIV who uttered the exclamation. The monk was enquiring after the health, etc., of père Joseph (1577-1638).
Le petit doigt d'un chasseur.
(A chasseur's little finger.) In a despatch from GENERAL BEURNONVILLE (1752-1821) to the minister of war, dated Dec. 20, 1792, he refers to the losses being
confined to the "petit doigt d'un de nos chasseurs" (little finger of one of our chasseurs). Le Moniteur universel, Dec. 23, 1792. Le (petit) ruisseau de la rue du Bac. (The gutter stream of the rue du Bac).
MADAME DE STAEL'S (17661817) expression, to typify her beloved Paris, from which she was exiled (Cf. her work Dix Années d'Exil) by Napoleon.
"Il n'y a pas pour moi de rivière "qui vaille mon petit ruisseau," etc. (There is no river which to me is equal to my little gutter stream, etc.) Cf. Ste-Beuve, Portraits de femmes et Causeries du lundi. Another version : "Ah! il n'y a pas pour "moi de ruisseau qui vaille celui de la rue de Bac." (Ah! there is no stream which to me is worth that of the rue de Bac).
Le premier vol de l'aigle. (The
eagle's first flight.)
Attributed to A.-M.-J.-J. DUPIN the elder (1783-1865), Louis Philippe's testamentary executor, when, a few weeks after the coup d'Etat (Dec. 2, 1851) Napoleon III (1808-73) ordered the sale of the Orleans family's goods. Also attributed to MME. DE RÉMUSAT (1780-1821), but she could not have used it in reference to the same circumstance.
Le quart d'heure de Rabelais.
(Rabelais' quarter of an hour.) Allusion to the bad quarter of an hour' passed, it is said, by Rabelais (1483-1553). The story as regards Rabelais is found in Rabelaesina Elogia, by Antoine Le Roy and elsewhere, but discredited. (Cf. Voltaire Lettre sur Rabelais, 1767). Cf.
"So comes a reck'ning when the banquet's o'er,
"The dreadful reck'ning; and men smile
-Gay, The What D'ye Call it, act 2, sc. ix. "Il me semble déjà que "le quart-d'heure de Rabelais sonne, "que la toile se lève : quelle situation! "ah je frémis! . . ." (It seems to me that Rabelais' quarter-of-an-hour is striking, that the curtain is rising : what a situation! ah I tremble!...) -Allainval, L'Embarras des Richesses-Prologue (first played, 1725). See (and cf.) Un mauvais quart d'heure.
Le roi de France ne venge pas les querelles du duc d'Orléans les injures" instead of "les querelles", i.e. insults. (The King of France does not avenge the quarrels of the Duke of Orleans.) Suard, Notes sur l'esprit d'imitation.
Phrase used by Louis XII (duc d'Orléans) (1462-1515) on coming to the throne (1498) and receiving a deputation from the town of Orleans making their submission. He said: "Il ne seroit décent et à honneur à "un roi de France de venger les "querelles, indignations et inimities, "d'un duc d'Orléans." (It would neither be fitting nor honourable for a king of France to avenge the quarrels, indignations and enmitiés of a Duke of Orleans.) Chronique abrégée published at the end of Jean d'Auton, by Paul Lacroix, 1835, p. 224. President Hénault, in his Abrégé chronologique de l'histoire de France, 1744, affirms that the remark refers more particularly to Louis II de La Trémoille (1460-1525) who had made the duc d'Orleans prisoner at the battle of St. Aubin-le-Cormier (July 27, 1488). Another version: "Ce n'est pas au roi de France à venger les injures du duc d'Orleans." (It is not for the king of France to avenge the insults of the duke of Orleans). See Il serait honteux au duc de venger les injures faites au
Le roi est le maître, il peut attendre tant qu'il lui plaira. (The king is the master, he can wait as long as it pleases him). Said by G. B. LULLI (1633-87) referring to king Louis XIV (16381715), who arrived too soon at a ballet in which he was to take part. Le roi est mort, vive le roi! (The
king is dead, long live the king!)
Words used by the heralds to the people under the monarchical régime in France (heard for the last time in 1824), announcing at one and the same time the king's death and the coming to the throne of his successor. The words are said to have been used for the first time at the death of Charles VII (1461) and the accession of Louis XI, thus putting in practice the French legal principle
Le roi ne meurt jamais" (the king never dies). On the news reaching the Louvre of the assassination of Henry IV, Sillery, Jeannin and Villeroi, the three ministers leagued against Sully, hastened to the queen. "Le roi She, on seeing them, cried : est mort!""Vous vous trompez, madame," replied Sillery; France, le roi ne meurt pas." (You are mistaken, madam; in France the king does not die).
Le roi et son auguste famille." (The king and his august family.")
Saying said to have been invented by a German named CURTIUS who (abt. 1780) opened a wax-work exhibition in Paris and applied the words "et son auguste famille" to successive groups of figures.
Le roi (or la reine) le veult. (The
king [or the queen] wills it.) Form of royal assent made by the Clerk of Parliament to bills submitted to the Crown after passing the two Houses. The form of
dissent (Le roi s'avisera = The king will consider it) is now never used.
Le roi me reverra. (The king will see me again).
Ascribed to PRINCE BISMARCK (1815-98), at his dismissal in March, 1890; but the words were never uttered by him (see Hamburger Nachrichten, 1 Jan. 1891).
Le roi règne et ne gouverne pas (The king reigns and does not govern).
The résumé of the republican party's policy made by A.-L. THIERS (1797-1877) Jan. 18, 1830, in le National, a newspaper founded by him. See Rex regnat, sed non gubernat. Cf. also Le National,
Feb. 19, 1830.
M. Perraud, bishop of Autun, in a speech at the reception of M. Duruy (1811-94) into the French Academy, June 18, 1885, said "Si Dieu existe, ce n'est pas assez 'qu'il règne: il faut encore qu'il 'gouverne.' (If God exists, it is not enough that he should reign: he must also govern.)
By M. DE MONTROND ( to BARON JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD (1844-81). The latter had declined to lend the former some money saying that altho' his house was rich the money belonged to the business. The expression occurs in Dumas fils' la Question d'argent (act 2, sc. 7) represented Jan. 31, 1857. Cf. also Beroalde de Verville (15581612) le Moyen de parvenir (1856 edition p. 184) "Petrarche, Mais de "quoi sont composées les affaires "du monde. Quelqu'un. Du bien "d'autrui." Petrarch. (But of what
is the business of the world composed? Another. Of the wealth of other people).
Le sang qui vient de couler étaitil donc si pur? (Was the blood that has just been spilt so pure then?)
Said by BARNAVE (1761-93) July 23, 1789)-after the taking of the Bastille (July 15, 1789) referring to the indignation at the death of those who had perished in the tumult. As Barnave was on his way to execution, two men who apparently had taken up a position for the purpose, cried out: "Barnave, le sang qui coule est"il donc si pur?" (Barnave, is the blood which is being shed so pure then?)-Memento, ou Souvenirs inédits, 1838, vol. 2, pp. 223-4.
Also quoted: "Le sang qui vient "de se répandre était-il donc si pur?" (Was the blood that has just been spilt so pure then?)
Le saucisson de M. Constans. (M. Constans' sausage).
Allusion to M. CONSTANS having, in the course of negotiations relative to an insurance company called "la Ville de Lyon" received from M. Baratte, one of the founders, an Arabian gun and a Lyons sausageJournal Officiel, Débats parlementaires p. 608. Mentioned in reply to a question put in the Chamber of Deputies by M. Laguerre (March 16, 1889) who accused M. Constans of having received 10,000 francs and 250 fully paid shares for allowing his name to be placed on the prospectus. Le saut périlleux. (The dangerous leap.)
Reference to his abjuration of faith made by HENRI IV (15531610) in a letter to GABRIELLE d'ESTRÉES (1571-99) July 23, 1593). "Ce sera dimanche que je fairay le
sault périlleux" (I shall take the dangerous leap on Sunday). Les "baïonnettes intelligentes." (Intelligent bayonets.)
Phrase owing its vogue to an article in the Journal des Débats of Aug. 10, 1829, in which occurs the following. "Les baïonnettes aujour "d'hui sont intelligentes; elles con"naissent et respectent la loi." (Bayonets [i.e. soldiers] to-day are intelligent, they know and respect the law).
Les bleus sont toujours bleus, les blancs sont toujours blancs. (The blues are always blue, the whites are always white).
Remark by NAPOLEON (17691821) to GENERAL GERARD (17731852) alluding to the defection of GENERAL BOURMONT (1773-1846) June, 1815. Both were afterwards made marshals. Blancs and Bleus were names given at the time of the Revolution to the legitimists (or royalists) and the republican soldiers respectively.
Les bons rois sont esclaves et leurs peuples sont libres. (Good kings are slaves and their subjects are free).
Saying of QUEEN MARIE LECZINSKA (1703-68) wife of Louis XV. Cf. "The king that is not free is not a king."-G. West, Institution of the Garter, 1. 1156). See who drives fat oxen &c. Les chevaux du roi de France sout mieux logés que moi. (The king of France's horses are better housed than I). Said by the DUKE OF HANOVER on seeing LOUIS XIV's stables at Versailles.
Les étrangers sont la postérité contemporaine. (Foreigners are contemporary posterity).