Vie de Benjamin Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome II suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 130

occasion vous avez eue
de prendre tous les exercices ensemble! En avez-vous profité? et combien
de fois?

FRANKLIN.

Je ne peux pas bien répondre à cette question.

LA GOUTTE.

Je répondrai donc pour vous.--Pas une fois.

FRANKLIN.

Pas une fois!

LA GOUTTE.

Pas une fois. Pendant tout le bel été passé vous y êtes arrivé à six
heures. Vous y avez trouvé cette charmante femme et ses beaux enfans, et
ses amis, prêts à vous accompagner dans ces promenades, et à vous amuser
avec leurs agréables conversations.--Et qu'avez-vous fait?--Vous vous
êtes assis sur la terrasse; vous avez loué la belle vue, regardé la
beauté des jardins en bas: mais vous n'avez pas bougé un pas pour
descendre vous y promener.--Au contraire; vous avez demandé du thé et
l'échiquier. Et vous voilà collé à votre siége jusqu'à neuf heures, et
cela après avoir joué, peut-être deux heures, où vous avez dîné. Alors,
au lieu de retourner chez vous à pied, ce qui pourroit vous remuer un
peu, vous prenez votre voiture.--Quelle sottise de croire qu'avec tout
ce déréglement, on peut se conserver en santé sans moi!

FRANKLIN.

À cette heure, je suis convaincu de la justesse de cette remarque du
bonhomme Richard, que nos dettes et nos péchés sont toujours plus qu'on
ne pense.

LA GOUTTE.

C'est comme cela que vous autres philosophes avez toujours les maximes
des sages dans votre bouche, pendant que votre conduite est comme celle
des ignorans.

FRANKLIN.

Mais faites-vous un de mes crimes, de ce que je retourne en voiture de
chez madame B...?

LA GOUTTE.

Oui, assurément; car vous, qui avez été assis toute la journée, vous ne
pouvez pas dire que vous êtes fatigué du travail du jour. Vous n'avez
donc pas besoin d'être soulagé par une voiture.

FRANKLIN.

Que voulez-vous donc que je fasse de ma voiture?

LA GOUTTE.

Brûlez-la si vous voulez. Alors vous en tirerez au moins pour une fois
de la chaleur. Ou, si cette proposition ne vous plaît pas, je vous en
donnerai une autre.--Regardez les pauvres paysans, qui travaillent la
terre dans les vignes et dans les champs autour des villages de Passy,
Auteuil, Chaillot, etc.--Vous pouvez tous les jours parmi ces bonnes
créatures, trouver quatre ou cinq vieilles femmes et vieux hommes,
courbés et peut-être estropiés sous le poids des années et par un
travail trop fort et continuel, qui, après une longue journée de
fatigue, ont à marcher peut-être un ou deux milles pour trouver leurs
chaumières.--Ordonnez à votre cocher de les prendre et de les mener chez
eux. Voilà une bonne oeuvre, qui fera du bien à votre ame! Et si, en
même-temps, vous retournez de votre visite chez les B... à pied, cela
sera bon pour

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 31
[Illustration: Sailboat] III ARRIVAL IN PHILADELPHIA My inclinations for the sea were by this time worne out, or I might now have gratify'd them.
Page 33
and, finding I had read a little, became very sociable and friendly.
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My friend and companion Collins, who was a clerk in the post-office, pleas'd with the account I gave him of my new country, determined to go thither also; and, while I waited for my father's determination, he set out before me by land to Rhode Island, leaving his books, which were a pretty collection of mathematicks and natural philosophy, to come with mine and me to New York, where he propos'd to wait for me.
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He had gam'd, too, and lost his money, so that I was oblig'd to discharge his lodgings, and defray his expenses to and at Philadelphia, which prov'd extremely inconvenient to me.
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my faults in it vexed me so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty character in that respect, like the man who, in buying an ax of a smith, my neighbour, desired to have the whole of its surface as bright as the edge.
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They were useful to themselves, and afforded us a good deal of amusement, information, and instruction, besides answering, in some considerable degree, our views of influencing the public opinion on particular occasions, of which I shall give some instances in course of time as they happened.
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"_ And it shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove, than to resent, return, and continue inimical proceedings.
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The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence.
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And this is not the only instance of patents taken out for my inventions by others, tho' not always with the same success, which I never contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes.
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My allegation on the contrary, that it met with such approbation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand pounds by voluntary donations, they considered as a most extravagant supposition, and utterly impossible.
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I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners did not, from the effect holes in the bottom of the globe lamps us'd at Vauxhall[91] have in keeping them clean, learn to have such holes in their street lamps.
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William Hunter, to succeed him, by a commission from the postmaster-general in England.
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The fund for paying them was the interest of all the paper currency then extant in the province upon loan, together with the revenue arising from the excise, which being known to be more than sufficient, they obtain'd instant credit, and were not only receiv'd in payment for the provisions, but many money'd people, who had cash lying by them, vested it in those orders, which they found advantageous, as they bore interest while upon hand, and might on any occasion be used as money; so that they were eagerly all bought up, and in a few weeks none of them were to be seen.
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[96] By chance.
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The owners, however, alleging they did not know General Braddock, or what dependence might be had on his promise, insisted on my bond for the performance, which I accordingly gave them.
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He gave me a commission with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for officers, to be given to whom I thought fit.
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It being winter, a fire was necessary for them; but a common fire on the surface of the ground would by its light have discover'd their position at a distance.
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Collinson for his present of the tube, etc.
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His answer was, "I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next; but I may let you.
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We had a watchman plac'd in the bow, to whom they often called, "_Look well out before there_," and he as often answered, "_Ay, ay_"; but perhaps had his eyes shut, and was half asleep at the time, they sometimes answering, as is said, mechanically; for he did not see a light just before us, which had been hid by the studding-sails.