Random Quote #95 topic: voltaire-dict, Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire, 1694-1778


Samuel Ornik, native of Basle, was, as you know, a very amiable young
man who, besides, knew his New Testament by heart in Greek and German.
When he was twenty his parents sent him on a journey. He was charged to
carry some books to the coadjutor of Paris, at the time of the Fronde.
He arrived at the door of the archbishop's residence; the Swiss told him
that Monseigneur saw nobody. "Comrade," said Ornik to him, "you are very
rude to your compatriots. The apostles let everyone approach, and Jesus
Christ desired that people should suffer all the little children to come
to him. I have nothing to ask of your master; on the contrary, I have
brought him something."

"Come inside, then," said the Swiss.

He waits an hour in a first antechamber. As he was very naive, he began
a conversation with a servant, who was very fond of telling all he knew
of his master. "He must be mightily rich," said Ornik, "to have this
crowd of pages and flunkeys whom I see running about the house."

"I don't know what his income is," answered the other, "but I heard it
said to Joly and the Abbe Charier that he already had two millions of

"But who is that lady coming out of the room?"

"That is Madame de Pomereu, one of his mistresses."

"She is really very pretty; but I have not read that the apostles had
such company in their bedrooms in the mornings. Ah! I think the
archbishop is going to give audience."

"Say--'His Highness, Monseigneur.'"

"Willingly." Ornik salutes His Highness, presents his books, and is
received with a very gracious smile. The archbishop says four words to
him, then climbs into his coach, escorted by fifty horsemen. In
climbing, Monseigneur lets a sheath fall. Ornik is quite astonished that
Monseigneur carries so large an ink-horn in his pocket. "Don't you see
that's his dagger?" says the chatterbox. "Everyone carries a dagger when
he goes to parliament."

"That's a pleasant way of officiating," says Ornik; and he goes away
very astonished.

He traverses France, and enlightens himself from town to town; thence he
passes into Italy. When he is in the Pope's territory, he meets one of
those bishops with a thousand crowns income, walking on foot. Ornik was
very polite; he offers him a place in his cambiature. "You are doubtless
on your way to comfort some sick man, Monseigneur?"

"Sir, I am on my way to my master's."

"Your master? that is Jesus Christ, doubtless?"

"Sir, it is Cardinal Azolin; I am his almoner. He pays me very poorly;
but he has promised to place me in the service of Donna Olimpia, the
favourite sister-in-law _di nostro signore_."

"What! you are in the pay of a cardinal? But do you not know that there
were no cardinals in the time of Jesus Christ and St. John?"

"Is it possible?" cried the Italian prelate.

"Nothing is more true; you have read it in the Gospel."

"I have never read it," answered the bishop; "all I know is Our Lady's

"I tell you there were neither cardinals nor bishops, and when there
were bishops, the priests were their equals almost, according to
Jerome's assertions in several places."

"Holy Virgin," said the Italian. "I knew nothing about it: and the

"There were not any popes any more than cardinals."

The good bishop crossed himself; he thought he was with an evil spirit,
and jumped out of the cambiature.


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