Dames And Daughters of the French Court

Cover of book Dames And Daughters of the French Court
Categories: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: MADAME GEOFFRIN.


Born in Paris, 1699. Died in Paris, Oct. 6,1777. '' Madame Geoffrin is an extraordinary woman with more com-mon sense than I almost ever met with." ? Horace Walpole. She is a unique figure, this Madame Geoffrin. The memoirs of the seventeenth century show her to us an elderly, sensible, proper sort of person. We think that we are not going to like her, that we are going to find her stupid and commonplace. We end by discovering her to be a woman of remarkable power and charm, and by liking her as we would like an affectionate school-ma'am or an indulgent stepmother. It is thus that the society of her time knew and admired her. The men and women who came to see her at her house in the Rue Saint-Honore, who courted her patronage, who submitted themselves to her empire, were her boys and girls, her schoolchildren, her sons and daughters. They called her mamma, and took her scoldings gracefully as obedient children should; or, if they were not in the mood for scoldings, they ran away, played truant, yet returned inevitably to the maternal knee. They begged to be scolded again, having MADAME GEOFFRIN. From a painting by Staal. found her frowns more necessary than the smiles of the rest of the world. They were attracted, too, by those sugar-plums which she bestowed at intervals, sugar-plums in the shape of life annuities. They were tied, so to speak, to her apron. She had them in leading strings. It is as a mamma, a schoolmistress, a mature and motherly soul, that Madame Geoffrin seems to have made her first appearance in the world. One remembered her always with silvery hair, her cap tied under her chin, a bit of exquisite lace about her throat, and wearing soft, silky gowns of sombre shade. She never endeavored like some women, it is said, to ap...

Dames And Daughters of the French Court
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