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BARBIER DE SÉVILLE
LA PRÉCAUTION INUTILE
COMÉDIE EN QUATRE ACTES
PIERRE AUGUSTIN CARON DE BEAUMARCHAIS
I. H. B. SPIERS
Senior Assistant Masthr William Penn Charter School
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
I. LIFE OF BEAUMARCHAIS.
Few lives have been more varied than that of Pierre AugusTin Caron De Beaumarchais, and none illustrates more forcibly what dazzling success can be achieved by indomitable energy at the service of great talents.
Born in a watchmaker's shop at Paris, in the year 1732, Beaumarchais, before he was twenty-one years of age, had invented a new escapement, for which he had peremptorily obtained recognition from the Académie des Sciences in spite of the pretensions of a rival; soon he could style himself horloger du roi. Shortly afterwards, to relieve a temporary pecuniary embarrassment, he turned to account the musical ability of his family, and was before long promoted to the position of teacher of the harp to the ladies of the royal house of France. He took a brief journey to Madrid, and speedily obtained full reparation from a recreant suitor who had declined to fulfill his engagement to one of Beaumarchais' sisters. Amid the leisure afforded by various court sinecures, Beaumarchais launched into authorship, produced two drames, or "serious comedies" after the fashion preached and practised by Diderot, and failed signally (1767-1770): only to reappear on the stage, and silence forever his detractors, with the overwhelming triumph of Le Barbier de Seville (1775) and Le Mariage de Figaro (1784).
Meanwhile he had made a fortune in successful speculation