previous next

[129] which everybody has been talking in Paris since the publication of the Abbe de Pradt's book, in which he expresses the most sanguine expectation of its speedy emancipation. In these expectations and hopes all the republicans in Paris, with Mad. de Stael at their head, heartily join; but the Baron de Humboldt, though his wishes are the same, is by no means of the same opinion.

April 26.—The two most interesting acquaintances I have in Paris, thus far, are Schlegel and Humboldt; and the manner of living adopted by both of them is original. Schlegel's is such, indeed, as partly to account for his success as a man of letters, and as a member of the gay society of Paris. He wakes at four o'clock in the morning, and, instead of getting up, has his candle brought to him and reads five or six hours, then sleeps two or three more, and then gets up and works till dinner at six. From this time till ten o'clock he is a man of the world, in society, and overflowing with amusing conversation; but at ten he goes to his study and labors until midnight, when he begins the same course again.

Humboldt's is entirely different, but not less remarkable. For him, night and day form one mass of time which he uses for sleeping, for meals, for labor, without making any arbitrary division of it. It must be confessed that this power, or habit, is convenient in the kind of life which must be led in a great metropolis by one who, with great talents, wishes to be at once a learned man and a man of the world. M. de Humboldt, therefore, sleeps only when he is weary and has leisure, and if he wakes at midnight he rises and begins his work as he would in the morning. He eats when he is hungry, and if he is invited to dine at six o'clock, this does not prevent him from going at five to a restaurant, because he considers a great dinner only as a party of pleasure and amusement. But all the rest of the time, when he is not in society, he locks his door and gives himself up to study, rarely receiving visits, but those which have been announced to him the day previous, and never, I believe, refusing these, because, as he well explained to me, when he can foresee an interruption, he prepares himself for it, and it ceases to be such. All this is, to be sure, very fine; but then, such a life presupposes two things: a constitution able to resist all fatigue, physical and moral; and a reputation which puts its possessor above the conventions of society, and allows him to act as a king. Baron Humboldt unites them both. His ample and regular frame, his firm step, and the decision and force with which he marks every movement, indicate the man who has survived the tropical heat of the Orinoco and ascended the peak of


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Department de Ville de Paris (France) (4)
Humboldt, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
M. De Schlegel (2)
M. De Humboldt (2)
M. Humboldt (1)
De Stael (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: