The day commences: let us begin to arrange

The day commences: let us begin to arrange for this day the business and fetes of our most gracious lord, who at present is still pleased to repose. His Majesty has bad weather today: we shall be careful not to call it bad; we shall not speak of the weather, but we shall go through today’s business somewhat more ceremoniously and make the fetes somewhat more festive than would otherwise be necessary. His Majesty may perhaps even be sick: we shall give the last good news of the evening at breakfast, the arrival of M. Montaigne, who knows how to joke so pleasantly about his sickness, – he suffers from stone. We shall receive several persons (persons! what would that old inflated frog, who will be among them, say, if he heard this word! “I am no person,” he would say, “but always the thing itself “) and the reception will last longer than is pleasant to anybody; a sufficient reason for telling about the poet who wrote over his door, “He who enters here will do me an honour; he who does not – a favour.” – That is, forsooth, saying a discourteous thing in a courteous manner! And perhaps this poet is quite justified on his part in being discourteous; they say that his rhymes are better than the rhymester. Well, let him still make many of them, and withdraw himself as much as possible from the world: and that is doubtless the significance of his well-bred rudeness! A prince, on the other hand, is always of more value than his “verse,” even when – but what are we about? We gossip, and the whole court believes that we have already been at work and racked our brains: there is no light to be seen earlier than that which burns in our window. – Hark! Was that not the bell? The devil! The day and the dance commence, and we do not know our rounds! We must then improvise, – all the world improvises its day. Today, let us for once do like all the world! – And therewith vanished my wonderful morning dream, probably owing to the violent strokes of the tower-clock, which just then announced the fifth hour with all the importance which is peculiar to it. It seems to me that on this occasion the God of dreams wanted to make merry over my habits, – it is my habit to commence the day by arranging it properly, to make it endurable for myself, and it is possible that I may often have done this too formally, and too much like a prince.

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