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Payment In Kind

The Empress Catherine of Russia having sent, as a present to Voltaire,
a small ivory box made by her own hands, the poet induced his niece to
instruct him in the art of knitting stockings; and he had actually
half finished a pair, of white silk, when he became completely tired.
Unfinished as the stockings were, however, he sent them to her Majesty,
accompanied by a charmingly gallant poetical epistle, in which he told
her that, "As she had presented him with a piece of man's workmanship
made by a woman, he had thought it his duty to crave her acceptance,
in return, of a piece of woman's work from the hands of a man."--When
Constantia Phillips was in a state of distress, she took a small shop
near Westminster Hall, and sold books, some of which were of her own
writing. During this time, an apothecary who had attended her once when
she was ill, came to her and requested payment of his bill. She pleaded
her poverty; but he still continued to press her, and urged as a reason
for his urgency, that he had saved her life. "You have," said Constantia,
"you have indeed done so: I acknowledge it; and, in return, here is my
life"--handing him at the same time the two volumes of her "Memoirs,"
and begging that he would now take her life in discharge of his

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