Benjamin Franklin Papers
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From Benjamin Franklin to Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy, [29 November 1777]

To Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy

AL and draft:5 American Philosophical Society

Samedi [November 29, 17776] 11 heures de soir

Etant revenu chez moi, j’etois surpris de trouver qu’il étoit presque onze heures. Je crains qu’oubliant toutes autres Choses, par notre trop d’attention au Jeu des Echecs, nous vous avions beaucoup incommodé, en vous detenant si longtemps dans le Bain.7 Dites moi, mon chère Amie, comment vous vous trouvez ce matin. Jamais je ne consentirai de commencer une partie (avec le Voisin) ci-aprés, dans votre chambre à baigner. Pouvez-vous me pardonner cette Indiscretion?

Je vous envoye le Homere de M. Bitaubé. Cet aimable Homme a beaucoup d’envie d’être connu de Me. Brillon, et d’entendre de sa Musique. Est-il permis de l’amener avec moi le Mercredi prochain?8 Si cela n’est pas convenable pour vous, dites le, et je l’eviterai.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5The AL is in BF’s imitation of her hand; although he later repeated the pleasantry on a small scale, this is our one example of an entire letter so done. The draft differs from the AL in omitting the parenthetical reference to Le Veillard, and in adding a note at the end in the same quasi-Brillon script, “Sent in an Imitation of Me. Brillon’s handwriting.”

6The 29th is established by her reply on Sunday the 30th. In August, 1778, and May, 1779, Sunday was also the 30th; but the date we have assigned seems by far the most probable because of BF’s reference to Bitaubé. The German was in Paris that November, as mentioned below, and we have found no evidence of a later visit.

7Bathtubs commonly had wooden covers.

8Paul-Jérémie Bitaubé (1732–1808), a German of French descent, had been visiting Voltaire, and left Ferney for Paris on Oct. 29, 1777: Theodore Besterman, ed., The Complete Works of Voltaire: Correspondence . . . (51 vols., Banbury, Oxon., etc., 1968–77), XLV, 69–70, 77. By this time Bitaubé, as far as we know, had published only his translation of the Iliad (Paris, 1764), which must be “le Homere” that BF is enclosing.

On some other occasion BF asked Mme. Brillon’s permission to bring a foreigner to call; her reply, undated and undatable, was enthusiastic: “Hollandois, Russe, pollonois, indiens, etc., etc. il suffit mon bon papa, qu’on soit votre ami, pour estre sur d’estre bien reçu de moi et de me faire grand plaisir.” APS.

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