Rica to Usbek in ***
The other day I happened to be in a company where I saw a man who was very content with himself. In fifteen minutes he decided three questions of morality, four historical problems, and five points of physics. I have never seen such a universal decider ; his mind was never suspended by the slightest doubt. They left the sciences, and took up news of the day ; he decided about the news of the day. I wanted to trip him up, and said to myself : I must make use of my strength ; I am going to take refuge in my country. I spoke to him of Persia ; but I had scarcely said four words before he twice refuted me, based on the authority of MM. Tavernier and Chardin.  Oh good Lord, said I to myself, who is this man ? Next thing he will know the streets of Isfahan better than I do ! My decision was soon made : I said no more, and let him talk, and he is still deciding.
Paris this 8th day of the moon of Zilcadé 1715