Paley expressly acknowledges his obligations to the original and suggestive, though diffuse and whimsical, work of Abraham Tucker (Light of Nature Pursued, 17681 774).
In Paris, too, at this time he made a whimsical but pleasant friendship. Marie de Jars de Gournay (1565-1645), one of the most learned ladies of the 16th and 17th centuries, had conceived such a veneration for the author of the Essays that, though a very young girl and connected with many noble families, she travelled to the capital on purpose to make his acquaintance.
He sought to mediate, though with no success, between the pope and the emperor; he descended to a whimsical piety, and took his courtiers by guile in distributing to them, at Christmas, clothing on which a cross had been secretly stitched.
These elements are, briefly stated, (1) a strong partiality for subjects dealing with humble life, in country and town, with the fun of taverns and village greens, with that domestic life in the rough which goes to the making of the earlier farces in English and French; (2) a whimsical, elfin kind of wit, delighting in extravagance and topsy-turviness; (3) a frank interest in the pleasures of good company and good drink.
The town, according to the whimsical etymology shown on the corporation seal, takes its name from hirondelle (a swallow).