I need to translate a text from Montesquieu called "Comment peut-on être Persan?" But I encountered this one sentence which said: "J’eus sujet de me plaindre de mon tailleur". I wanted to translate it as something like: "I had reasons to complain about my tailor" But that doesn't make any sense with the sentence that follows it in which he says that he loses all the attention from the public. How should I translate that sentence according to you?
I personally find your rendering of the part of the sentence quite accurate. I think that your difficulty is with the rest of the sentence, I am afraid you haven't quite understood either l'attention et l'estime publique or the situation.
Libre de tous les ornements étrangers, je me vis apprécié au plus juste. J'eus sujet de me plaindre de mon tailleur, qui m'avait fait perdre en un instant l'attention et l'estime publique ; car j'entrai tout à coup dans un néant affreux. (Montesquieu, Lettres persannes, Lettre 30)
The situation : In this letter Rica (one of the two "Persians" recounting their experiences in Paris) experiences the look the Parisians set on him. As long as he was dressed as an exotic foreigner in his Persian dress he drew everyone's attention, and found people, talked about him and admired him to the point of having his portrait in their homes.
The day he decided to dress as a European and had a European costume made by his tailor people lost interest in him and he was no longer the centre of people's attention.
mon tailleur, qui m'avait fait perdre en un instant l'attention et l'estime publique ;
Here are some examples of translation of this sentence into English:
I had occasion enough to be displeased with my taylor for making me lose all public regard and attention, for I at once sunk into a contemptible nothingness. (To full text)
I had reason to complain of my tailor, who had made me lose so suddenly the attention and good opinion of the public; for I sank immediately into the merest nonentity. (To full text)