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mistresses are that. You have chosen her in Paris ! To find a
tender and virtuous mistress in Paris is to have not such bad luck.
You have made her a promise of marriage ? My friend, you have made
a blunder; for if you continue to love, the promise is superfluous,
and if you do not, then it is no avail. You have signed it with
your blood 1 That is all but tragic; but I don't know that the
choice of the ink in which he writes, gives anything to the
fidelity of the man who signs."1 We can only add that the health in
which a man writes may possibly excuse the dismal quality of what
he writes, and that Rousseau was now as always the prey of bodily
pain which, as he was conscious, made him distraught. " My
sufferings are not very excruciating just now," he wrote on a later
occasion, "but they are incessant, and I am not out of pain a
single moment day or night, and this quite drives me mad. I feel
bitterly my wrong conduct and the baseness of my suspicions; but if
anything can excuse me, it is my mournful state, my loneliness,"
and so on.2 This prolonged physical anguish, which was made more
intense towards the end of 1761 by the accidental breaking of a
surgical instrument,3 sometimes so nearly wore his fortitude away
as to make him think of suicide.4 In Lord Edward's famous letter on
suicide in the New Heloisa, while denying in forcible terms the
right of ending one's days merely to escape from Corr., ii. 106.
Nov. 10,1759. 2 Ib., ii. 179. Jan. 18,1761. 3 Ib.. ii. 268. Dec.
12, 1761. 4 /., ii. 28. Dec. 23, 1761.I intolerable mental
distress, he admits that inasmuch as physical disorders only grow
incessantly worse, violent and incurable bodily pain may be an
excuse for a man making away with himself; he ceases to be a human
being before dying, and in putting an end to his l...
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