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A Carouse At Boileau's








Boileau, the celebrated French comedian, usually passed the summer at
his villa of Auteuil, which is pleasantly situated at the entrance of
the Bois de Boulogne. Here he took delight in assembling under his roof
the most eminent geniuses of the age; especially Chapelle, Racine,
Moliere, and La Fontaine. Racine the younger gives the following account
of a droll circumstance that occurred at supper at Auteuil with these
guests. "At this supper," he says, "at which my father was not present,
the wise Boileau was no more master of himself than any of his guests.
After the wine had led them into the gravest strain of moralising, they
agreed that life was but a state of misery; that the greatest happiness
consisted in having been born, and the next greatest in an early death;
and they one and all formed the heroic resolution of throwing themselves
without loss of time into the river. It was not far off, and they actually
went thither. Moliere, however, remarked that such a noble action ought
not to be buried in the obscurity of night, but was worthy of being
performed in the face of day. This observation produced a pause; one
looked at the other, and said, 'He is right.' 'Gentlemen,' said Chapelle,
'we had better wait till morning to throw ourselves into the river, and
meantime return and finish our wine;'" but the river was not revisited.

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