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Dr Jolly[1] upon a visite I received from him Amongst [[xxxx]] other discourses of Phisique he told me, that (since I purposed to make it my calling) he had observed in the parctice[2] of our English phisitians, that they healed too Excessively and that those of English Nations that came to Montpelier for cure, amongst other Symptoms had still some breaking \out/ or other, which he was go apt to beleve came from the violence of phisick taken in England.

Upon Madame H[[xxx]]mes subjet, he told me that he had made her understand, that she had more profited, by not taken phisique since \she/ came to Montpelier, than though they had prescribed the best \and most proper/ they could have thought off for her distemper. So[x]e much even the Phisitians of the Towne are give to the goodnesse of the aire ther[e]of.

Upon the subject of Fermentation he told me that he they could not keepe the verjus[3] in their cas[k]es but that in time it became \at least/ a 3d parte of it wine, that their apples and other fruits

Folio 221 verso

would not keepe because of their suddaine and hasty Fermentation and that upon that account only, he believed, men were short lived in his Countrey.[4]

Memoires de la conversation ëue par fois avec Monsieur de la Mothe.[5] 1665 à Montpelier sur la sujet de Monsieur de Corneille[6]

M’a dit qu’estant à table avec M. l’Abbé de Cerisy M. de Corneille et avec d’autres honnetes gens à Rouen, Mr Corneille qu’estoit assis aupres de luy à mi-repas, luy donna un coup de poing sur l’espaule avec un cry, qui fut suvy de paroles, qui tesmoignoierent assez qu’il songeiot allieurs. ah! que j’ay de la peine à faire mourir cette fille! come il avoit surpris la companie, il fut obligé à dire la verité et les asseurer <et en demandant> pardon de ses resveries, il les assuroit, qu’il n’estoit propre pour la conversation, et qu’il ne scauvoit s’empescher resver sur quelque une de ses comedies qu’il avoit sur les mains, et qui fut l’occasion de ses paroles.

Editor’s translation: Notes of the conversation with M. de la Mothe in 1665 at Montpellier about the subject of M. Corneille. He related that, being at table with the Abbé de Cerisy,[7] M. Corneille and other gentlemen in Rouen, M. Corneille, who sitting next to him eating his meal, punched him on the shoulder with a shout, which was followed by words which revealed him lost in a dream. Ah! what trouble I have making that girl die! As he had startled the company, he was obliged to explain and to assure them <and in asking> pardon for his reveries, he assured them that he was not fit for conversing, and that he could not stop himself pondering one of the plays he had in hand, and [that] this gave rise to his words.]

[1] Dr Joly, a Huguenot physician, is mentioned in Lister’s pocketbook, as well as in Skippon’s account of Montpellier.

[2] Practice.

[3] Verjuice.  Verjuice is an acidic condiment and ingredient in French cooking.

[4] Leiden physician Franciscus Sylvius de la Boë (1614-72) claimed that over-acidity or alkalinity could lead to disease; for instance, cancer was caused by acidic lymph fluid.

[5] François de La Mothe Le Vayer (1588-1672), French writer, tutor to the young Louis XIV, courtier and libertine. He was admitted to the Académie Française on 14 February 1639, and wrote Pyrrhonian dialogues under the pseudonym of Orasius Tubero. La Mothe Le Vayer advanced the opoinion that morality was an affair of natural reason alone, and not of divine revelation, something that will greatly influence Enlightenment thinkers. On La Mothe Le Vayer’s career, see Ernest Tisserand’s introduction to La Mothe Le Vayer’s Deux Dialogues faits à l’imitation des anciens (Paris, 1922).  Mothe is also mentioned by Pierre Bayle:  The Dictionary Historical and Critical of Mr. Peter Bayle, 2d ed (London: D. Midwinter, et. al., 1738), vol. 5, 419.  For a discussion of early modern freethinkers like La Mothe Le Vayer, and to what extent the authoritative status of ancient Greek texts allowed them to justify literary depictions of the scandalous, see Larry F. Norman, The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early Modern France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).

[6] These notes are memoirs of a conversation Lister had with de la Mothe, and the first instance of these anecdotes in manuscript. See John Lough, ‘Comment travaillait le grand Corneille’, Revue d’Histoire du Théâtre, 4 (1950), 454-455; G. Couton also relates the same story in his Corneille: Connaisance des Lettres  (Paris: Hatier, 1969), 90.

[7] Germain Habert, abbé de Cerisy (1610-1654), member of the literary circle of the Académie Française founded by Valentine Conrart, secretary of the King, who was under the protection of Cardinal Richelieu. In 1635, Habert received the abbey of Cerisy from Richelieu.

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