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Session of November 23, 1843.

CHARLES NODIER. ­The Academy, yielding to custom, has suppressed universally the double consonant in verbs where this consonant supplanted euphoniously the d of the radical ad.

MYSELF. ­I avow my profound ignorance.  I had no idea that custom had effected this suppression and that the Academy had sanctioned it.  Thus one should no longer write atteindre, approuver, appeler, apprehender, etc., but ateindre, aprouver, apeler, aprehender?

M. VICTOR COUSIN. ­I desire to point out to M. Hugo that the alterations of which he complains come from the movement of the language, which is nothing else than decadence.

MYSELF. ­M.  Cousin having addressed a personal observation to me, I beg to point out to him in turn that his opinion is, in my estimation, merely an opinion and nothing more.  I may add that, as I view it, “movement of the language” and decadence have nothing in common.  Nothing could be more distinct than these two things.  Movement in no way proves decadence.  The language has been moving since the first day of its formation; can it be said to be deteriorating?  Movement is life; decadence is death.

M. COUSIN. ­The decadence of the French language began in 1789.

MYSELF. ­At what hour, if you please?

October 8, 1844.

This is what was told to me at to-day’s session: 

Salvandy recently dined with Villemain.  The repast over, they adjourned to the drawing-room, and conversed.  As the clock struck eight Villemain’s three little daughters entered to kiss their father good night.  The youngest is named Lucette; her birth cost her mother her reason; she is a sweet and charming child of five years.

“Well, Lucette, dear child,” said her father, “won’t you recite one of Lafontaine’s fables before you go to bed?”

“Here,” observed M. de Salvandy, “is a little person who to-day recites fables and who one of these days will inspire romances.”

Lucette did not understand.  She merely gazed with her big wondering eyes at Salvandy who was lolling in his chair with an air of benevolent condescension.

“Well, Lucette.” he went on, “will you not recite a fable for us?”

The child required no urging, and began in her naïve little voice, her fine, frank, sweet eyes still fixed upon Salvandy: 

One easily believes one’s self to be somebody in France.


During the run of M. Ponsard’s “Lucrece”, I had the following dialogue with M. Viennet at a meeting of the Academy: 

M. VIENNET. ­Have you seen the “Lucrece” that is being played at the


M. VIENNET. ­It is very good.

MYSELF. ­Really, is it good?

M. VIENNET. ­It is more than good, it is fine.

MYSELF. ­Really, is it fine?

M. VIENNET. ­It is more than fine, it is magnificent.

MYSELF. ­Really, now, magnificent?

M. VIENNET. ­Oh! magnificent!

MYSELF. ­Come, now, is it as good as “Zaïre”?

M. VIENNET. ­Oh! no!  Oh! you are going too far, you know.  Gracious! 
“Zaïre”!  No, it is not as good as “Zaïre”.

MYSELF. ­Well, you see, “Zaïre” is a very poor piece indeed!