Short summary - The Indiscreet Jewels - Denis Diderot

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Indiscreet Jewels
Denis Diderot

The action of this work, saturated in accordance with the literary fashion of the era with a pseudo-oriental flavor, takes place in Africa, in the capital of the Congo empire - Banza, in which Paris with its morals, quirks, and also quite real inhabitants is easily guessed.
Since 1500000003200001 from the Creation of the world, Sultan Mangogul has ruled in the Congo. When he was born, his father - the glorious Ergebzed - did not summon the son of fairies to the cradle, for most of the princes, whose education was entrusted to these female minds, turned out to be fools. Ergebzed only ordered the chief haruspex Kodendo to draw up a horoscope for the baby. But Kodendo, who was promoted solely thanks to the merits of his great-uncle - an excellent cook, could not read the stars and could not predict the fate of the child. The prince's childhood was the most ordinary: he had not yet learned to speak, he uttered many beautiful things and at the age of four gave material for the whole "Mangoguliada", and by the age of twenty he knew how to drink, eat and sleep no worse than any ruler of his age.
Driven by a senseless whim, characteristic of the greats of this world, old Ergebzed handed the crown to his son - and he became a brilliant monarch. He won many battles, enlarged his empire, put his finances in order, corrected laws, even established academies, and did all this - to the amazement of scientists - without knowing a word of Latin. And Mangogul was also gentle, kind, cheerful, handsome and smart. Many women sought his favor, but for several years the beautiful young Mirzoza had possessed the sultan's heart. Gentle lovers never hid anything from each other and were completely happy. But sometimes they were bored. And one day Mirzoza, sitting at knitting, said: - You are fed up, sir. But the genius Kukufa, your relative and friend, will help you to have fun.
And the genius Kukufa, an old hypochondriac, took refuge in solitude to take full advantage of the improvement of the Great Pagoda. Sewn up in a sack and wrapped in a rope, he sleeps on a mat - but it may seem as if he is contemplating ...
At the call of the Sultan Kukuf, he arrives, holding on to the legs of two large owls, and gives Mangogul a silver ring. If you turn his stone in front of any woman, then the most intimate part of her body, her treasure, will tell about all the adventures of her mistress. Put on the little finger, the ring makes its owner invisible and takes him anywhere.
Mangogul is delighted and dreams of testing Mirzoza, but does not dare: firstly, he completely trusts her, and secondly, he is afraid, upon learning the bitter truth, to lose his beloved and die of grief. Mirzoza also begs not to put her to the test: the beauty is deeply insulted by the Sultan's distrust, which threatens to kill their love.
Having vowed to Mirzoza never to test the rings on her, Mangogul goes to the chambers of the senior sultana of Manimonbanda and puts the ring on one of the ladies present there - the charming mischievous Alsina, who talks sweetly with her husband-emir, although they have been married for a week and, according to custom, can now not even dating. Before the wedding, the damsel managed to convince the enamored emir that all the rumors circulating about her were just a vile lie, but now Alsina's treasure loudly utters how proud she is that his mistress has become an important person, and tells what tricks she had to go to in order to convince ardent emir in his innocence. Here Alsina prudently faints, and the courtiers explain what happened with a hysterical fit, emanating, so to speak, from the lower region.
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This incident made a lot of noise. The speech of Alsina's treasure was published, corrected, supplemented and commented on, the Beauty "became famous" throughout the country, which, however, she took with absolute composure. But Mirzoza is sad: the Sultan is going to bring confusion to all houses, open the eyes of husbands, lead lovers to despair, ruin women, dishonor girls ... Yes, Mangogul firmly intends to amuse himself further!
The best minds of the Banza Academy of Sciences are beating the phenomenon of talking treasures. This phenomenon baffles the adherents of both scientific schools of the Congo - both the vortexes, led by the great Olibri, and the pretenders, led by the great Chirchino. Vortex Persiflo, who published treatises on an infinite number of objects unknown to him, connects the chatter of treasures with sea tides, and the scientist Orcotom believes that treasures have always spoken, but quietly, now, when the freedom of speech has become such that he talks without shame about the most intimate things, treasures squealed at the top of their voices. Soon the dispute between the sages becomes stormy: they move away from the question, lose the thread, find it and again lose it, become bitter, reach screams, then mutual insults - which is where the meeting of the Academy ends.
Clerics declare treasure chatter to be their domain. Brahmins, hypocrites, gluttons and libertines, attribute this miracle to the evil spirit Kadabra; in this way they try to hide their own sins - and for this any brahmin-hypocrite will sacrifice all the pagodas and altars. A righteous Brahmin in a large mosque proclaims that the chatter of treasures is the punishment that Brahma has unleashed on a society mired in vices. Hearing this, people shed tears, resort to prayers and even a little scourging, but they do not change anything in their lives.
True, the women of the Congo tremble: here nonsense always breaks loose from the tongue - so what can weave treasure ?! However, the ladies believe that the chatter of treasures will soon become a custom - not to give up because of it from gallant adventures! At this point, one of Banza's many swindlers, whom poverty has made inventive, a certain Mr. Eolipil, who has lectured on erudistics for several years, announces that he has invented gags for treasures. These "muzzles" immediately come into vogue, and women part with them only after making sure that they do more harm than good.
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So, Zelida and Sofia, two hypocritical friends who for 15 years hid their intrigues with such art that everyone considered these ladies to be examples of virtue, now in panic they send for the jeweler Frenikol, after a long auction they buy the tiniest "muzzles" from him - and soon the whole city laughs at the friends, having learned this story from Zelida's maid and from the jeweler himself. Sofia decides that, having lost her good name, she must at least preserve the pleasure, and embarks on all the hard things, while Zelida leaves for the monastery out of grief. The poor woman sincerely loved her husband and cheated on him only under the influence of bad morals prevailing in the world. After all, beauties are taught from childhood that doing home and being with her husband means burying oneself alive ...
The muzzle did not help the beauty Zelais. When the sultan directs his ring at her, her treasure begins to wheeze in a strangled voice, and she herself falls unconscious, and the doctor Orcotom, removing the muzzle from the unfortunate one, sees the laced treasure in a state of acute paroxysm It turns out that a gag can kill - from chatter treasure no one has died yet. Because the ladies refuse to "muzzle" and now confine themselves only to hysteria. “Without lovers and hysterics, one cannot at all revolve in the world,” one courtier remarks on this occasion.
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Sultan arranges 30 ring tests - and he hears everything! At an intimate dinner with Mirzoza, the treasure of one lady wearily lists all her lovers, and although the courtiers persuade the angry husband not to be upset about such nonsense, he locks his wife in a monastery. Following her, the Sultan puts the ring on the treasures of the nuns and finds out how many babies these "virgins" gave birth to. The treasure of the passionate gambler Manilla recalls how many times it paid the gambling debts of its mistress and earned her money for the game, robbing the old head of the Brahmins and ruining the financier Turkares.In the opera, the sultan directs the ring at the chorus, and their treasures begin to sing frivolous verses, but soon the performance ends actresses' treasures go where they will not be engaged in singing.
But most of all the Sultan is shocked by the story of Felisa - not as beautiful as the charming twenty-five-year-old wife of the fifty-year-old Emir Sambuco, a wealthy and famous military leader and diplomat. While he worked for the glory of the Congo, Felisa's treasure swallowed up the glory, career and life of the brave Colonel Zermunzaid, who, indulging in his love campaign with Felisa, did not notice the approach of the enemy; then more than three thousand people died, while Felisa shouted "Woe to the vanquished!" she threw herself on her bed, where all night she was violently experiencing her misfortune in the arms of an enemy general, and then she suffered in captivity at the young and ardent emperor of Benin. friend Sambuco, and then devoured the beautiful estate, the palace and the horses of one minister, cast a shadow on many titles, acquired untold riches ... And the old husband knows everything and is silent.
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But the ancient treasure of the elderly Garia, who has already forgotten about the first adventures of her mistress, tells about her second husband, the poor Gascon nobleman Sendor. Poverty overcame his aversion to wrinkles and his four beloved dogs. On their wedding night, he was brutally bitten by dogs and for a long time then persuaded the old woman to drive the dogs out of the bedroom. Finally Sendor threw his wife's beloved Italian greyhound out of the window, and Garia hated her murderer-husband for life, whom she pulled out of poverty.
And in the secluded house of Senator Hippomanes, who, instead of thinking about the fate of the country, indulges in secret debauchery, the treasure of the next lady of this nobleman - the puffy Alphana - complains about her hard life: after all, Alfana's mother squandered all the family's fortune, and now her daughter has to earn famous the way ... The
treasure of the noble lady Erifila ardently calls on the actor Orgolia. On a date with a beautiful woman, he graciously picks his nose - a very theatrical gesture that delights connoisseurs - and admires exclusively himself and his talents.
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treasure of a lanky, blond, cheeky and lecherous Fanny scolds the famous ancestors of her mistress ("The stupid position of the titled treasure!") And recalls how Fanny suffered for a whole day and a half because no one loved her. "But the lover demands a reciprocal feeling from his beloved - and loyalty to the bargain!" - Then the young philosopher Amizadar told her and spoke with sadness about his deceased beloved. Opening their hearts to each other, they knew the greatest happiness, unknown to less loving and less sincere mortals. But this is not for ladies of the world. And although Fanny's treasure is delighted with Amizadar, she herself decides that he and his strange ideals are simply dangerous ...
During the masquerade ball, the Sultan listens to the treasures of the townspeople: some want pleasure, others - money. And after the ball, two officers almost kill each other: Amina, Alibeg's mistress, gave hope to Nasses! But Amina's treasure admits that it was not Nasses who gave hope, but his stately lackey. How stupid men are! They think that such trifles as ranks and titles can deceive a woman's treasure! The officers recoil from Amina in horror, and the sultan listens to the treasure of Cypriot - a withered person who wants to be considered a blonde. In her youth, she danced in the Moroccan theater; owner - Megemet Tripadhud brought her to Paris and abandoned her, but the courtiers were seduced by the Moroccan woman, and she earned a lot of money. However, great talents need a big stage. Cypriot worked in the sweat of her brow in London, Vienna, Rome, Spain and India, visited Constantinople - but she did not like the country where treasures sit under lock and key, although Muslims are distinguished by the ease of the French, the ardor of the English, the strength of the Germans, the resilience of the Spaniards and the raid Italian refinement. Then Cypria worked gloriously in the Congo, and becoming useless for anything, she picked up a noble and wealthy good-natured husband. The treasure-traveler talks about his adventures in English, Italian, Spanish and Latin, but the author does not recommend translating these obscenities to ladies.
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However, sometimes the sultan uses the magic ring for good. The ring helps to solve the problem of pensions, which are bothering crowds of widows who lost their husbands during the victorious wars of the Sultan. The treasures of these women report that the fathers of their children are not at all husbands-heroes, who were killed not by enemies, but by lovers of wives, while widows will spend their pensions on the maintenance of cute lackeys and actors ... The ring saves a noble handsome man from death penalty through castration Kersaela: his mistress, the beautiful young Fatima, hearing that he was going to leave her for the sake of the dancer, out of revenge declares that he raped her, Fatima. Having learned the truth, the Sultan solemnly puts the villainess and her treasure under lock and key - but he rescues the lovely Egle from the distant estate, which was locked there by a jealous husband, the great Kravch Selebi, who had heard the lies of her enemies; and she herself, following the advice of good friends, behaved as if she was guilty, for which she spent six months in the provinces - and this for a lady of the court is worse than death.
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Experiencing the sultan and the treasures of the ladies, with whom the court dandies boast, and finds out that among the many lovers of these women there was not one of those who loudly dishonor their names.
After trying the ring, the sultan begins to strongly doubt the power of the pagodas, the honesty of men and the virtue of women. The treasures of the latter talk like the treasures of mares! And the Sultan directs the ring to his blue-eyed golden horse, in anger expelling the secretary of the Zigzag, who dared to think that he was the servant of the Sultan, and not his horse, and forgot that, entering the houses of the greats of this world, you need to leave your beliefs outside the door ... The neighing filly, respectfully recorded by another secretary, the pundits declare: a) a touching monologue from an ancient Greek tragedy; b) an important fragment of Egyptian theology; c) the beginning of the funeral oration at the grave of Hannibal; d) Chinese prayer. And only Gulliver, who returned from the country of horses, easily translates the story of the love of an old pasha and a little filly, which had previously been covered by a great many donkeys, full of spelling errors.
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And Mirzoza is philosophizing. She declares the feet to be the abode of the soul of the infant. With age, the soul rises higher and higher - and for many women it remains in the treasure for life. It determines the behavior of such persons. But in a truly virtuous lady, the soul is in the head and in the heart; and only one dearly beloved person attracts such a lady both the call of the heart and the voice of the treasure. The Sultan refuses to believe that women have souls at all. With a laugh, he reads to Mirzoza the notes of travelers exhausted by arduous wanderings, whom he sent to a distant island to acquire wisdom. On this island, the priests, choosing married couples, carefully ensure that the treasures of the bride and groom perfectly match in shape, size and temperature, and the most temperamental persons have the honorable duty of serving the whole society. “After all, everything in the world is conditional,” says the island's high priest. “You call what we consider a virtue a...”
crimeMirzoza is shocked. The Sultan notes that if the beloved were more stupid and always listened to him enthusiastically, this would bring them very close! With the islanders, everyone does their own thing. And in the Congo - everyone is not his own. Although both here and there are very funny fashions. Indeed, in the field of fashion, madmen issue laws for the smart, and courtesans for honest women ...
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However, if the Sultan manages to find these most honest women, he is ready to give Mirzoza a country palace and a lovely porcelain monkey. After all, even dear Egle, offended by her husband, yielded to Almanzor ... But Fricamona, who spent her youth in the monastery, does not even let men enter the door, lives surrounded by modest girls and adores her friend Akaris. And another lady, Kallipiga, complains that her beloved Mirolo does not pay attention to her treasure, preferring completely different pleasures. The sultan is delighted with the virtue of these ladies, but for some reason Mirzoza does not share his enthusiasm.
At their leisure, Mangogul, Mirzoza, the elderly courtier Selim and the writer Rikarik, an erudite man, but nevertheless clever, argue about literature. Rikarik extols ancient authors, Selim defends modern writers describing true human feelings. “What do I care about the rules of poetics? If only I liked the book! " He says. “Only truth can please and touch,” Mirzoza agrees. "But do those pompous performances that are staged in theaters resemble real life ?!"
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And at night Mirzoza dreams of beautiful statues of great writers and thinkers of different eras. Gloomy dogmatists fumigate statues with incense, which harms the statues a little, and pygmies spit on them, which does not harm the statues at all. Other pygmies cut off noses and ears from living heads - they correct the classics ... The
sultan, tired of philosophizing, also has a dream. Мангогул на гиппогрифе возносится в парящее в мутном пространстве огромное здание, полное старых полуголых калек и уродов с важными лицами. Балансируя на острие иглы, почти нагой старик выдувает мыльные пузыри. “Это страна гипотез, — объясняет султану Платон. — А клочки ткани на телах философов — остатки одежд Сократа...” Тут султан видит слабого ребёнка, который на глазах превращается в могучего великана с факелом в руке, озаряющим светом весь мир. Это Опыт, который одним ударом рушит шаткое здание гипотез.
Султанский фокусник Блокулокус по прозвищу Пустой Сон рассуждает о ночных видениях. Тут все дело в нашем восприятии... Ведь и наяву одних людей мы принимаем за умников, других за храбрецов, старые дуры считают себя красавицами, а учёные публикуют свои ночные бредни в виде научных трудов...
Пока султан ищет добродетельных дам, шестидесятилетний Селим — красивый, благородный, изящный, мудрый, бывший в молодости любимцем всех прелестниц, в старости же прославившийся на государственном поприще и снискавший всеобщее уважение, — признается, что так и не сумел постичь женщин и может лишь боготворить их. Мальчишкой он лишился невинности с юной кузиной Эмилией; та умерла родами, а Селима пожурили и отправили путешествовать. В Тунисе он лазил по верёвочной лестнице к жене пирата, на пути в Европу ласкал во время шторма прелестную португалку, пока её ревнивый муж стоял на капитанском мостике; в Мадриде Селим любил прекрасную испанку, но жизнь любил ещё больше, а потому бежал от супруга красавицы. Знавал Селим легкомысленных француженок, холодных с виду, но пылких и мстительных англичанок, чопорных немок, искусных в ласках итальянок. Через четыре года Селим вполне образованным вернулся домой; поскольку же он интересовался и серьёзными вещами, изучив военное дело и танцы, то получил высокий пост и стал участвовать во всех увеселениях принца Эргебзеда. В Банзе Селим узнал женщин всех возрастов, наций и сословий — и распутных светских дам, и лицемерных буржуазок, и монахинь, к которым проник, переодевшись послушницей. И везде вместо искренних чувств находил он лишь лживость и притворство. В тридцать лет Селим женился ради продолжения рода; супруги относились друг к другу как подобает — холодно и благопристойно. Но как-то Селим встретил очаровательную Сидализу — жену полковника спаги Осталука, славного человека, но жуткого урода и ревнивца. С огромным трудом, совершенно изменившись, удалось Селиму завоевать сердце добродетельной Сидализы, считавшей, что без уважения любви быть не может. Селим спрятал обожаемую женщину в своём домике, но ревнивый муж выследил беглецов и пронзил грудь жены кинжалом. Селим прикончил негодяя и долго оплакивал любимую, но потом понял, что вечного горя не бывает и вот уже пять лет связан нежными чувствами с очаровательной Фульвией. Султан спешит испытать её сокровище — и выясняется, что сия титулованная дама в страстном стремлении обзавестись наследником десять лет отдаётся всем подряд. Оскорблённый Селим подумывает удалиться от двора и стать философом, но султан удерживает его в столице, где Селим продолжает пользоваться всеобщей любовью.
Он рассказывает Мирзозе о “добрых старых временах”, “золотом веке Конго” — царствовании деда Мангогула, султана Каноглу (намёк на Людовика XIV). Да, было много блеска — но какая нищета и какое бесправие! А ведь мерило величия государя — это счастье его подданных. Каноглу же превратил своих приближённых в марионеток, да и сам стал марионеткой, которой управляла старая дряхлая фея (намёк на г-жу де Ментенон).
А султан тем временем испытывает сокровище Заиды — дамы с безупречной репутацией. И сердце, и сокровище красавицы в один голос говорят о любви к Зулейману. Правда, замужем Заида за отвратительным Кермадесом... И все же султана потрясает образ верной и прекрасной Заиды — и Мангогул сам делает ей нескромное предложение, получив же решительный отказ, возвращается к пленительной Мирзозе.
А та, поклонница высоких принципов, совершенно не подходящих ни к её возрасту, ни к положению, ни к лицу, восхваляет чистую любовь, основанную на дружбе. Султан и Селим смеются. Без зова плоти любви нет! И Селим рассказывает историю о прекрасном юноше Гиласе. Великий идол лишил его способности удовлетворять страсть и предрёк, что излечит несчастного лишь женщина, которая не разлюбит его, далее узнав о его беде. Но все женщины — даже горячие поклонницы платонической любви, старухи и непорочные весталки — отшатываются от Гиласа. Исцеляет его лишь прекрасная Ифис, на которой лежит такое же заклятие. Гилас с таким пылом выражает ей свою благодарность, что вскоре ему начинает грозить возврат болезни...
Тут приходит известие о смерти Суламека — скверного плясуна, который благодаря усилиям поклонниц стал учителем танцев султана, а потом с помощью реверансов — и великим визирем, в каковой должности и продремал пятнадцать лет. Во время блистательной надгробной речи проповедника Брррубубу Мирзоза, которую ложь всегда приводит в истерическое состояние, впадает в летаргию. Чтобы проверить, жива ли красавица, султан направляет на неё перстень, и сокровище Мирзозы заявляет, что, верное султану до гроба, оно не в силах расстаться с любимым и отправиться на тот свет. Очнувшаяся фаворитка оскорблена тем, что султан нарушил обещание, но тот в восторге клянётся ей в вечной любви. Простив государя, фаворитка все же умоляет его вернуть перстень Кукуфе и не тревожить больше ни своего сердца, ни всей страны. Taк султан и поступает.