Monthly Archives: November 2017

Footnotes on footnotes

In a recent blog post I discussed the identification of one of the titles in Macintosh’s library: The history of Tom Jones, a foundling (1749). Today, in reading through part of Macintosoh’s Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa (1782) in preparation for a book chapter I am writing, I found evidence of Macintosh’s familiarity with the book.

In a letter dated 5 January 1779, Macintosh details his experience aboard the French ship Favori, on which he had departed from the island of Réunion (then Île Bourbon) on 10 December 1778:

I am now placed in a society not unlike that of the stage-coach in Tom Jones; a jumble of figures, constitutions, complexions, disposition, professions, and sexes.

And thus the project progresses, footnote on footnote.

Macintosh at home, part the second

The main facade of Macintosh's town house, from Rue Grande Monnaie

The main facade of Macintosh’s town house, from Rue Grande Monnaie

Since returning from Avignon I have concentrated on completing the catalogue of Macintosh’s library, which now stands at 78 items, but have also been keen to confirm my identification of his Avignon town house.

One piece of evidence appears to confirm my suspicions—an address given by Monsieur Pierre de Brion (former member of the Vaucluse chapter of the organisation Vieilles maisons françaises) to the Franco-Scottish Society on 9 June 1990. de Brion’s address—”Sur les pas des Stuarts et des Ecossais qui vecurent a Avignon 1716–1813″—contains an account of the appearance of Macintosh’s home:

La façade de cet hôtel, qui est d’une grande pureté de lignes, comprend un rez-de-chaussée, un premier étage et un attique au-dessus d’une corniche saillante. Le tout a 5 fenêtres par étage, dont 3 perées dans un avant-corps central que surmonte, au-desses de la corniche, un fronton triangulaire. Et, comme vous pouvex le voir d’ici, dans le tympan de ce fronton figure un écusson de forme ovale et renflée où sont gravées des armoiries.

This description corresponds directly with the rear elevation of the property on Rue des 3 Testons (above), particularly the pediment with the oval escutcheon containing a coat of arms (see below).

Detail of the pediment

Detail of the pediment

de Brion’s account, which was published in Des Ecossais a Avignon (1993), is valuable because it also dates Macintosh’s purchase of the property to 15 May 1786 and records the purchase price as 11,300 French livres.

Prior to the purchase of this property, Macintosh lived, according to de Brion, “à sa campagne de Châteaubrun dans les environs d’Avignon”. Together with the inventory of Macintosh’s seized books is a list of his papers. This list includes the entry “Papiers relatifs à la Grange de chateau brun que Mr Machintosch [sic] avait affermée de Mr de Monery de Caylus 1780–1788 [papers relating to the barn, chateau brun, that Mr Macintosh had leased from Mr de Monery de Caylus 1780–1788]”.

Macintosh addressed many letters from Chateau Brun, so it is apparent that this building was more than a mere barn. Quite where it was, other than in the vicinity of Avignon (possibly near Montfavet), is not quite clear; that will require more digging. It looks likely, however, that the Monsieur de Monery de Caylus in question was Ignace-Dominique-Didier de Monery de Caylus (1726–1792). The entry for de Moneray de Caylus on Geneanet lists the following event in his timeline: “21 June 1780 : Donation-Succession – Chateaubrun, Vaucluse”. The source for this event is listed as “nice historique : Marquesan”, which I presume is a reference to the journal Nice Historique. The reference to “Chateaubrun, Vaucluse”—and its correspondence with 1780, the year Macintosh began his lease—would seem to be more than coincidental.

Wisdom of the crowd

A riddle from the inventory.

A riddle from the inventory.

Since returning from Avignon, I have been attempting to tie up the last few loose ends from my work on the inventory of Macintosh’s library. Although I had managed to decipher most of the items listed, one or two remained stubborn puzzles.

The example above was one such puzzle; appearing twice in the inventory, the book was described in two distinct ways: “histoire du tour jaunes” and “histoire de tour joue“. Neither instance appeared to make grammatical sense and I was at a loss to identify which English-language title this might be referring to. Appeals on Facebook and Twitter came up with some suggestions, but no solution.

Ultimately the puzzle was solved following an appeal to SHARP-L, the mailing list of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing. Almost immediately, one colleague—Helwi Blom from Utrecht University—recognised this for what it was: a bad transliteration of Henry Fielding’s The history of Tom Jones, a foundling (1749). “tour jaunes” was, in fact, “tom jaunes“.

This odd description is most likely a consequence of the means by which the inventory was assembled—by one individual plucking books from the shelf and reading their titles out loud to a second individual acting as a scribe. I am grateful for the wisdom of the SHARP-L crowd, and to Helwi particularly; I don’t think I would ever have deciphered this on my own.