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de terre. (Ah! you do not know how much happiness can remain in three arpents [3 to 4 acres] of land.)
Saying of HELVETIUS'S widow (1719-1800) at Auteuil, to NAPOLEON (1769-1821), who was astonished at her cheerfulness in her reduced circumstances.
Ah! c'est une spoliation vérita
ble; c'est une indignité. (Ah! it's a downright spoliation; it's an insult.)
LOUIS ADOLPHE THIERS (1797-1877)-alluding to the large amount (£200,000,000) of the war indemnity exacted by the Germans after the Franco-German War, 1870-1.
Ah! le bon billet qu' a La Châtre ! (Ah! what a fine promise La Châtre has!)
Remark by NINON DE LENCLOS (1620-1705) on remembering her written promise to remain faithful to the Marquis de La Châtre during his absence. Voltaire quotes the phrase as ... le beau billet qu'a La Chatre;" in a letter to the Comtesse de Lutzelbourg, Sep. 14, 1753; also as "On sait l'aventure du beau billet qu'a La Châtre" in a letter Sur Mlle. de Lenclos à M. ... (1751) (Cf. Nouveaux mélanges philosophiques, etc.) The anecdote is told by Saint Simon in ch. 151 of his Mémoires. Ah! pour Dieu, monsieur, n'ayez
pitié de moi, mais plutôt de vous-même, qui combattez contre votre foi et votre roi. (Ah! for God's sake, sir, don't pity me, but rather pity yourself, who are fighting against your religion and your king.)
Reply made by BAYARD (14751524) when mortally wounded (Apr. 30, 1524) in Italy, to the traitorous constable Charles de Bourbon. Said
to be Bayard's last words. Another version is: "Ce n'est pas moi qu'il 'faut plaindre, mais vous, qui "combattez contre votre roi et votre patrie." (It is not I who should be pitied, but you, who are fighting against your king and country.) Ah! sainte Vierge, ayez pitié de moi et recevez mon âme. (Ah! holy Virgin, have pity on me and receive my soul.) Dying words of CARDINAL MAZARIN, (1602-61), March 8-9, 1661.
Ah! si je n'étais pas roi, je me mettrais en colère. (Ah! if I were not a king, I should lose my temper.)
LOUIS XIV (1638-1715). (Dreux du Radier, Tablettes hist. et anecdotes des rois de France, vol. 3, p. 199, 2nd edit.)
Ah! si le roi le savait! (Ah! if the king knew it!)
Saying of the people, dating from, at least, feudal times, when oppressed by the nobles.
Ah! s'il se fallait
méfier de celui-là, en qui pourrait-on mettre sa confiance? (Ah! if he must be mistrusted, in whom could confidence be placed.)
Said by CARDINAL MAZARIN (1602-61)of Fabert (1599-1662) when doubts were cast upon the latter's fidelity.
Ah! sire, la pluie de Marly ne mouille pas. (Ah! sire, the rain at Marly does not wet anyone.)
Said by the CARDINAL DE POLIGNAC (1661-1741) to LOUIS XIV (1638-1715)
Ah, sire, qu'est-ce qui n'a pas soixante ans ? (Ah, sire, who isn't sixty?)
Reply made by the MARECHAL DE GRAMONT (1604-78) to LOUIS XIV (1638-1715), on the latter complaining of being 60 years of age.
Ai-je donc sur les épaules la robe de Nessus? (Have I then on my shoulders the shirt of Nessus ?)
Said by LAZARE HOCHE (176897) referring to the spitting of blood at the beginning of his last illness.
A l'aide de deux axiomes: Tout est possible et tout le monde a raison. (By the help of two axioms: Everything is possible and everybody is right.) Attributed to FONTENELLE (1657-1757) when asked how he had contrived to have so many friends and no enemies. Cf. "Whatever is, is right."
must Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle 4, 1. 394, also Epistle I, 1. 294.
A la lanterne ! (To the street lamp!)
Cry of the populace during the Revolution in the ears of the 'aristocrats,' alluding to 'lanterne de la Grève,' a street-lamp hung against a gibbet, at the corner of the rue de la Vannerie, and the place de la Grève, where several summary executions took place. The expression owes its notoriety to the ABBÉ MAURY'S (1746-1817) reply to the mob who used it to him. He said: Eh bien! quand vous m'aurez mis à la lanterne, y verrez-vous plus clair?" (Well, and when you have hanged me to the lamp, will you see any better there?)
A l'immortalité. (To immortality.)
Motto of the FRENCH ACADEMY, established under Richelieu in 1635. Hence the surname of
Allons donc ! j'ai refusé mieux ! (How absurd! I have refused better!)
Reply of BEAUMARCHAIS (173299) to the COMTE DE LA BLACHE'S challenge to fight. He was referring to the Duc de Chaulnes (? 1741-93)
Allons, petite créole, venez vous mettre dans le lit de vos maîtres. (Come, little creole, put yourself in the bed of your masters.)
Said, laughingly, by NAPOLEON (1769-1821) to JOSEPHINE (17631814) the day he took possession of the Tuileries (Feb. 19, 1800.) Cf. the remark of NEPOMUCENE LEMERCIER (1771-1840)
NAPOLEON 4 years later, at the inauguration of the Empire: "Vous vous amusez à refaire le lit des Bourbons; vous n'y coucherez pas"
* Small piece of money received each day by the rioters.
(You are amusing yourself by re-making the bed of the Bourbons; you will not sleep in it.)
Amis jusqu'aux autels (Friends as far as the altar.)
By FRANCIS I (1494-1547) to HENRY VIII (1491-1547) who pressed him to renounce the pope's authority.
Amis, souvenez-vous de Rocroy,
de Fribourg et de Nordlingen! (Friends, remember Rocroy, Fribourg and Nordlingen!)
The GREAT CONDE (1621-86) is credited with having thus addressed his soldiers before the battle of Lens (Aug. 20, 1648), but the authenticity of the words is doubtful. In Mme. de Motteville's account of Condé's harangue (cf. her Mémoires, No. 38 of the Collection Petitot, 2nd series) there are no such words. A moi Auvergne, voilà les ennemis. (Help, Auvergne, there's the enemy.) Attributed to the D'ASSAS (1738-60) by Voltaire (Siècle de Louis XV, ch. 33) but said by Grimm (Mémoires inédits, vol. 1, p. 188) to have been uttered by sergeant DUBOIS, belonging to his company, in the night of Oct. 15-16, 1760, at Clostercamp, when both perished. Grimm's version is: "A nous, Auvergne, c'est l'ennemi." (Help, Auvergne, it is the enemy) Cf. also Lombard de Langres, Mémoires, bk. 2, ch. 10 (vol 1, pp. 330-4) and Mrs. Hemans' poem The Fall of d'Assas.
A moi, mes amis, à moi! (Help, friends, help!)
Last words of JEAN PAUL MARAT (1744-93). Hist. populaire de la France, 1863, vol. 4, p. 136. Other versions are: "A moi, ma chère amie (mon amie), à moi !" Carlyle's
version is as follows: "A moi, chère amie, help dear!" The French Revolution. bk iv, ch. I. (Charlotte Corday.)
Appuyez-moi contre cet arbre, et
placez-moi de telle sorte que j'aie le visage tourné vers les ennemis. Jamais je ne leur ai tourné le dos ; je ne veux pas commencer en mourant, car c'est fait de moi. (Prop me up against this tree, and place me so that my face is turned towards the enemy. I have never turned my back to them; I don't want to begin when I am dying, for all is over with me.)
Words used by the CHEVALIER BAYARD (1475-1524) when mortally wounded between Romagnano and Gattinara, Italy (Apr. 30, 1524.) Après nous le déluge! us the deluge !)
MME. DE POMPADOUR (1721-64) to LOUIS XV after the battle of Rosbach (1757), to console the king. (p. xix of Essai sur la Marquise de Pompadour, by Desprez, prefacing Mémoires de Mme. du Hausset.)
"A quoi bon vous tourmenter et vous rendre malade? après nous le déluge!" (What is the use of worrying and making yourself ill? after us the deluge!) He had said, alluding to the resistance made by Parliament: "Les choses, comme elles sont, dureront bien autant que moi." (Things as they are will last as long as I shall.)
Cf. "Il m'a raconté aussi que peignant Mme. de Pompadour, le roy, après l'affaire de Rosbach, "arriva fort triste, elle luy dit: qu'il 'ne falloit point qu'il s'affligeât, "qu'il tomberoit malade, qu'au reste, après eux le déluge." (He told me also that, when painting Mme. de Pompadour, the king, after
the battle of Rosbach arrived very downcast, she said to him that he ought not to upset himself, that he would be ill, that for the rest, after them the deluge.) Ch. Desmaze, Le Reliquaire de M. Q. de La Tour: Note de Mlle Fel sur de La Tour (1874, p. 62)
Cf. “ Ἐμοῦ θανόντος γαῖα μιχθήτω Tupi." ("When I am dead let earth with fire be mingled.") ANON. (Quoted by Suetonius, Nero, 38.) A quelle sauce voulez-vous être
mangés? (With what sauce do you wish to be eaten?) Concluding words of lines under a caricature directed against CALONNE (1734-1802) circulated in the reign of Louis XVI (1754-93).
Cf. Grimm's Correspondance, April, 1787.
A qui donc parle-t-il? (To whom does he speak, then ?) FREDERICK THE GREAT Prussia (1712-86) to D'ALEMBert. The king asked whether d'Alembert had seen the king of France (Louis XV) "Yes, when presenting to him my reception speech at the French Academy." "Well, what did he say to you?”"He did not speak to me, Sire." Frederick then made the above remark. Chamfort, Euvres choisies, p. 69. (A. Houssaye.)
Arrière-pensée. (Ulterior motive).
Lit. Back-thought. Magasin pittoresque, vol. 8, p. 87.
Phrase attributed to the ABBÉ SIEYES (1748-1836), but also to be found in Destouches, Le Dissipateur (1736) act 5, sc. 9.
Aucun fiel n'a jamais empoisonné
ma plume. (No gall has ever poisoned my pen.) Euvres de Crébillon, 1818, vol 1, p. 13 of introduction and vol 2, p. 339.
In the speech (in rime) by CRÉBILLON (1674-1762) at his reception by the French Academy, Sep. 27, 1731.
Au nom de Dieu, Sire, faites la paix pour la France, moi je meurs. (In the name of God, Sire, make peace for France, I am dying.) Revue des Deux Mondes, April 15, 1857, p. 904.
Dying words of MARSHAL LANNES, duc de Montebello (1769-1809) to NAPOLEON. Mortally wounded at Essling, May 22, 1809; died nine days after. The words, as reported in the Moniteur, were "Sire, je meurs avec la conviction et la gloire d'avoir été votre meilleur ami. (Sire, I die with the conviction and the glory of having been your best friend).
the MARQUIS DE PASTOR ET(17561840).
Aux yeux d'un sage, les amis
qui se refroidissent sont comme des meubles, qu' on change quand ils s'usent. (In a wise man's eyes, friends who grow old are like furniture that is renewed when worn out.) FONTENELE (1657-1757).
Avec quatre aunes de drap, le roi
peut faire en deux minutes un homme comme vous; et il faut un effort de la nature et vingt ans de travail pour faire un homme comme moi. (With four ells of cloth the king can make a man like you in two minutes; and it requires an effort of nature and 20 years' work to make a man like me.) LEKAIN (1728-78)-to an officer who sought to humiliate him. See You have not to do with Holbein &c.
Avez-vous lu Baruch? (Have you read Baruch ?) L. Racine, Euvres, vol. 5, p. 156. LA FONTAINE (1621-95), whom Racine had ient a copy of the Bible which included the lesser prophets, said to him: C'était un beau génie que ce Baruch; qui était il?" (That Baruch was a great genius; who was he?) The question has become proverbial, to express astonishment at anything which has greatly struck anyone.
A votre âge Napoléon était mort et vous ne serez que le Sieyès, d'une constitution mort-née. (At your age Napoleon was dead, and you will only be the Sieyes of a still-born constitution.) Journal Officiel, Débats parlementaires, p. 1636.
Words addressed by M. FLOQUET, president of the Council, to GENERAL
BOULANGER (1837-91), June 4, 1888, alluding to a resolution, presented by the latter, for revision of the laws of the constitution. Baiser Lamourette. (Lamourette kiss.)
Saying used to express a shortlived reconciliation, derived from the impression made by a speech of the ABBÉ ADRIEN LAMOURETTE (1742-94), July 7, 1792, causing political opponents to embrace each other. Three days after, however, the opposing parties were as great enemies as ever.
Béni serait le jour qui. . (Blessed would be the day that . . . )
In a letter from GENERAL (then Colonel) BOULANGER (1837-91), dated May 8, 1880, to the DUC D'AUMALE on the latter relinquishing command of the 7th corps. "Je serai toujours fier d'avoir servi un chef tel que vous, et béni serait le jour qui me rappellerait sous vos ordres." (I shall always be proud of having served under such a chief as yourself, and blessed would be the day that would again place me under your orders.)
Bien, nous n'aurons pas besoin de sable. (Good, we shan't want any sand [to blot with].) JUNOT (1771-1813)-at the siege of Toulon (1793), Napoleon had just finished dictating a letter to Junot, (then only a sergeant) when a bullet covered it with earth, causing the above remark.
Bois ton sang, Beaumanoir, la soif te passera. (Drink thy blood, Beaumanoir, the thirst will pass off.)
Reply made by GEOFFREY DE BOVES to JEAN DE BEAUMANOIR, who, wounded, and tormented by