THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Rapt? Sade and Rose Keller
Would a noble who held a poor woman captive and tortured her have been accused of rapt - that is, at the least, kidnapping, with more or less of a sexual component? One can't say for sure in this case, since justice was deflected by (perfectly standard at the time) family maneuvers. But this is as good a heading as any under which to present at least some material on a case that in many ways echoes others described here, and might even seem less spectacular, were the accused not to have become a celebrated writer and controversial figure. In later years, that is - at this point, his only reputation was as the dissolute son of a distinguished family. Sade's own family claimed the crime had no name, that it was "of a genre not foreseen by the laws, and the whole presented an image so obscene and so shameful that it had to be wiped out even from memory." (Biographie Universelle, XXXVII, 220).
For my own part, I regret that I cannot offer a reference for a news item from the Eighties or Nineties about an Irish nanny in New York who was held prisoner and tortured by a prospective employer. The elderly judge who let the latter off lightly said, as best I can remember, "Well, it's not like he killed her." Consider the reaction that story provokes, and then compare it to what follows. Not that the case is closed, even today. Sade still has, and will probably continue to have, both attackers and defenders. Andrea Dworkin's dedication of Pornography: Men Possessing Women to Rose Keller was probably not meant as a ringing endorsement of Sade. A confirmed Sadean, on the other hand, writes: "His having “tortured” R. Keller, as she later claimed, remains hearsay (See Maurice Lever’s account of this episode in his “Sade”).]" Norbert Sclippa, http://www.cofc.edu/desade/papers/discussion.pdf. It must be said, if the following summary of Lever's account is accurate, the 'defense' seems less than exculpatory: "After quoting extensively from the court papers on this case Lever comes to the conclusion that "Sade’s pleasure came mainly from the terror he inspired in his victim from his ability to convince her that she would not leave his house alive, or to make her think that he was slicing up her flesh." not from the pain. (Lever, 1993, pg. 166)" http://www.the-crystal-bridge.com/Nov_2003/Umbaugh.html. The same evaluation is quoted in this resume of the case, which offers additional elements.
Among the disputed points that arise through various accounts of the case are:
- Was Rose Keller an unemployed widow (only) or a prostitute (and if the latter, did she knowingly go with Sade to be whipped)?
- Did Sade put a kind of ointment or merely hot sealing wax on her wounds?
- Were Sade and Keller alone, with servants, with two other women (prostitutes who continued to party after Rose was locked up for the night) or in front of a roomful of people there (in a kind of surgical theater)?
- Did he tie her up that night or only lock her in?
- Did he principally try to frighten her or did he physically mistreat her? (The medical expertise seems to resolve the latter point, describing wounds made by various objects)
A few points seem established:
- Sade held her in his country house (most likely against her will, ultimately if not initially)
- He mistreated her in some prolonged way (most likely physical by the evidence, but accounts differ)
- The local judge who was first consulted showed little interest in pursuing the case (a number of reasons have been suggested)
- When higher authorities learned of the case (possibly because of the rumors around it), they pushed for more definitive action
- Sade was locked up, first in Saumur, than in Pierre-Encise (in Lyon) (Note that when people say he was in prison, this was detention and not a legal sentence in itself)
- His family (as was perfectly standard at the time) intervened to have any formal charges dropped)
- Rose Keller accepted 100 louis to drop the charges (one account says she was offered more earlier)
In a poignant postscript, she used this hard-won money as a dowry when she got married the "following" May 7th in the parish of St. Eustache. (Says the Biographie Universelle - meaning that she got married within weeks of being assaulted, or the following year?) Certainly, for anyone with a serious interest in this case, there are a wealth of accounts of it in print and on the Web. The following is only part of the source material. The depositions of Sade, Keller and the medical experts still exist and are quoted piecemeal in various accounts. Unfortunately, I do not have the full texts available (and in French). All I can offer are several accounts, all to some degree contradictory (though there are those who doubt the offical accounts as well). Mme. Deffand's is one of the most widely quoted, and probably represents the story that was going around Paris at that moment (a story which she or her original sources modified - I hesitate to say corrected - the next day). Pidansart de Mairobert gives no source or date for his version, though it was clearly within the years (if not days) that followed. I have also quoted some slightly later versions, if only because they seem to be widely known and offer additional variations on the tale.
"Mme. Deffand to Horace Walpole, April 12, 1768
A certain count of Sade, nephew of the abbé author of "Petrarch", met, Easter Tuesday, a tall, shapely woman of thirty, who asked him for a hand-out; he asked her many questions, showed an interest in her, offered to extricate her from her misery, and to make her the concierge of a little house he had near Paris. This woman accepted; he told her to come find him there the next morning; she was there; he first took her through all the rooms in the house, through all the nooks and crannies, and then he led her to the attic; once there, he locked himself in with her, ordered her to strip completely; she resisted this proposition, threw herself at his feet, told him she was a decent woman; he showed her a pistol which he took out of his pocket, and told her to obey, which she did immediately; then he tied her hands and whipped her cruelly. When she was completely bloody, he took a pot of ointment out of his pocket, put it on her wounds and left her; I do not know if he gave her food or drink, but he did not see her until the next morning, he examined her wounds, and saw that the ointment had had the desired effect; then, he took a cane, and ripped up her whole body: he then took the same ointment, covered all the wounds with it, and left. This desperate woman managed to break her bonds, and threw herself out of the window overlooking the street. It is not said that she was hurt in falling; everybody gathered around her; the lieutenant of police was informed, M. de Sade was arrested, he is, it is said, in the chateau of Saumur. It is not known what will come of this matter, and if this will be the whole punishment, which might well be, because his people are rather important and well-respected; it is said that the motive of this execrable action was to try his ointment....
Wednesday 13, at eleven o'clock
Since yesterday I have heard the rest about M. de Sade. The village where his small house is, is Arceuil; he whipped and tore up the poor woman the same day, and immediately he put balm on her welts and slashes; he untied her hands, wrapped her in a lot of linen, and laid her in a good bed. She was hardly alone, when she used the sheets and the covers to escape by the window. The judge of Arceuil told her to register her complaint with the prosecutor and the lieutenant of police. The latter sent for M. de Sade, who, far from denying and being ashamed of his crime, claimed to have done a worthy deed, and to have done a great service for the public, by discovering a balm which would heal wounds; it is true that it had this effect on this woman. She has stopped pressing charges against her attacker, apparently in return for some money. thus there is every reason to believe that he will get off with prison time.
Pidansart de Mairobert gives a version in a note to his Espion Anglais which he claims to have read in "the news of the time":
A M. de Sade, man of a certain age & of a distinguished family of the Comtat, who claimed to be related to the beautiful Laura [that is, Petrarch's muse], spending Holy Saturday in the Place des Victoires, is stopped by a young woman who asks him for a hand-out. He looks her over; he finds her young & pretty; he wants to know why she does not practice another trade, more agreeable and more lucrative? After a dialog too long to recount, he seems to interest himself in her needs, & offers to take her as a governess, to put her in charge of his house. She agrees; he gives her a rendez-vous for the next day & takes her to his country house in Arceuil, where finding himself alone with her he renews his amorous attempts & on the continued refusal of this woman, he takes her, he obliges her to undress, naked sword in hand: he ties her to a column of the bed, whips her, tears up her skin with a cane, throws on her wounds Spanish wax; he locks her in and leaves. The poor woman struggles and frees herself; she runs to the window, she cries for help, &, hearing the sound of the door opening, thinking her tormenter returned, she throws herself from the window. Complaint at the bailiff's [meaning the local judge?]. It is said that M. de Sade's very respected family intimidated or won over this judge, but that the president Pinon, who has a house in the same place, having reproached him for his lack of action, the affair is en route. The woman, said to be that of a worker in the fauxbourg Saint Antoine, broke and arm and a leg in her fall. His trial had been begun by the Parlement; but his family, influential, & allied to the prince of Conde, it is said, saved him from the law's wrath, with a letter of cachet. Thus it is in France that any Court roué gets off with exile or prison.
Espion Anglais, Tome 2 (n. 359-360)
A book by A. Lacassagne on Vacher the Ripper and sadistic crimes (1899) quotes an account, printed in the Medical Gazette of Paris, July 9, 1849, by Brière de Boismont and later widely quoted:
A few years before the Revolution, several people passing by an isolated Paris street, heard feeble moaning from a ground floor room. They approached and having circled the house found a small door which gave way to their efforts. They went through several rooms and came to a room at the back; there on a table in the middle of the room a young woman was stretched out entirely naked, white as wax, barely able to make herself heard; her limbs and her body were tied down; blood ran from two cuts made in the arms, the breasts lightly scored let a liquid spill out; finally the sexual parts, equally incised, were bathed in blood. When she had been given first aid and she had recovered from the sort of oblivion in which she found herself, she told her liberators that she had been lured to this house by the famous marquis de S... The supper finished, he had her seized by her people and stripped of her clothes, laid out on the table and attached. By his orders a man opened her veins with a lancet and made a large number of incisions in her body. Immediately everybody left and the marquis undressing indulged in his habitual debaucheries. His intention, he said, was not to hurt her, but as she did not stop crying out and noise was heard around the house, the marquis rose suddenly and went down to his people.
Brière de Boismont did not give a source for this version, which seems dubious, if only because the little 'fame' the marquis had at the time was as an undesirable client in bordellos. Restif de la Bretonne gave another slightly different version, also resumed in the same book, in his Nuits. Having met a madame 'Valentin' (Rose Keller was the Widow Valentin) and offered her a job as his concierge, he brought her into an anatomical theater, before a large group of people.
What is this poor creature doing on earth? said the count (the marquis then bore his title of count), she is good for nothing: she must serve us to penetrate the mysteries of the human structure. She was then attached to the dissection table and the count, acting as dissector, examined all parts of the patient's body, announcing loudly the results to be had from the anatomical operation. The woman gave forth awful cries and the guests having left to remove the servants before the dissection began, the poor woman broke her bonds and fled through the window. She told of seeing three human bodies in the room where she was subjected to surgical experiments.
The paraphrased account goes on to say that she filed a complaint and Sade was put in Saumur before being moved to the chateau of Pierre-Encize in Lyon. He was only there for six weeks, Rose Keller having withdrawn her complaint for 100 louis. (both cited in Lacassagne, 191-192) Again, Restif's version is dubious, since the few bits from the medical examinations that have been reprinted in various works make it clear she was badly mistreated (whipped, cut, etc.) The Biographie Universelle's (19th century) account mentions other accounts which say that Sade spent the rest of the night entertaining himself with two other "public women". No doubt there are other variations on the tale.
From CHEZ JIM Books:|
An EIGHTEENTH CENTURY VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK:
APRES MOI LE DESSERT - VOLUME II
and a history of the CROISSANT:
AUGUST ZANG AND THE FRENCH CROISSANT
18th CENTURY RECIPE: Frozen cheeses - and early whipped cream
Culinary experimentation being what it is, there are of course recipes for actual cheeses that have been frozen; two can be found here. But, with one possible exception below, French fromages glacés were not cheeses, but large ice creams, flavored and molded into various shapes: "FROZEN CHEESES, are made of sweet cream; they are given different shapes, & different shapes, as you will see below." The Cannameliste offers, along with this definition, several recipes, beginning with the basic cream needed for the others(92-96):
How to prepare the cream for the cheese. Take for three [six British] pints of cream twenty-four fresh eggs; separate the whites from the yolks; strain your yolks through a strainer into a frying pan, blend your cream with your yolks; then set it to cook on a low flame, stirring continually with a spatula, until you see that it starts to boil, take it off the fire & strain it right away through a strainer, under which will be a terrine to receive your cream. It is good to note that in Summer cream tends to turn, which is why you must cook your cream separately, & then blend it with your egg yolks,; at least if the cream turns, you will not lose the eggs. This cream is used to make frozen cheeses of pistachios, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, saffran Italian-style, &c.
CHEESE of pistachios. Take a pound of pistachios; after having shelled them, grate them with two quarters of candied citon, & moisten them with a little pure cream, to keep them from turning to oil; when they are well-grated, strain them through a strainer with a spatula, then take two (four British] pints of prepared cream, when it has cooled a little, & blend your pistachios with it; put in powdered sugar to taste, & strain it all again through a strainer; put your cream in an ice crema maker, & freeze it; when it has hardened, have a cheese mold of whatever shape you want, which you will have packed well with ice, put in your cream, already frozen, neatly with a spoon, cover it with the mold's cover, & leave it at least an our before taking out.
CHEESE Italian-style. Take marmalade of citron, or of orange flower; blend it with a pint [two British] of the prepared cream; add powdered sugar to taste; strain it all through a strainer, & finish your cheese like the others.
Here is one recipe that, though it does not start with an actual cheese, mimics one, and even uses cheese as part of the ingredients
CHEESE of Parmesan. take coriander, a little cinnamon & cloves, which you will put in three [British] pints of fresh cream; add half a pound of grated chesse; cook all this on the fire, until it is about to boil, stirring the whole time; strain it through a strainer; put in powdered sugar; make it take into ice [literally, snow, which might also mean foam]; when it does, mix in a quarter pound of Parmesan cheese, well-grated; then put it in a mold in the shape of a quarter of Parmesan cheese... Finish it like the other; when it has been taken out, give it the color of its crust with burnt sugar.
The last recipe presents an interesting linguistic puzzle. Though one French word for whipped cream is exactly that - crème fouettée -, a more common variant is "Chantilly cream" (crème Chantilly), which at least one site says originated at the place of that name:
The complete history of "crème Chantilly" is uncertain, and its original secrets have remained just that: secret. But we can still trace its origins to a reasonable degree by returning to the princely tables of 18th Chantilly.... Chantilly whipped cream first made itself known during the Age of Enlightenment. It was first served in the village called the Hameau and its dairy that adjoined the Prince of Condé's Chantilly domain, which was well known throughout Europe.
Like the recipe that follows, this recipe (in French) for crème Chantilly says to chill the cream. The following recipe for a frozen cheese is almost exactly the recipe for crème Chantilly, except that it is named for... Gentilly. In French, these are almost homonyms - SHAN-tee-ee and ZHAN-tee-ee. Could this be a simple matter of confusion? And which was the original? Thus far, I have found no other references to a crème Gentilly. But whichever came first, what follows is the earliest recipe I have yet encountered for whipped cream:
CHEESE a la Gentilly. Take two [four British] pints of fresh cream, & very sweet; strain it through a strainer into a terrine; put in powdered sugar to taste, with a few zests of citron, orange flower sugar, or something else, depending on what flavor you want to give it; let it rest in a cool place for about an hour, so that what you have put in it can flavor it; strain it all through a strainer into another terrine; take yet another terrine, on which you can put a dry stainer; then begin to whip your cream into foam, & as you will see it form, take off the foam with a white metal skimmer, & put it on your strainer, to drain: continue this way until you have enough to fill your mold. Finally put your mold in ice, & pack it well with ice. Fill your mold with this foam, let it solidify for two hours; take it out like the other cheeses. Pay attention to exactly how you drain your foam on a strainer, because it is certain that in taking out the foam, you will also take some which has not been whipped, & if you put it right away into your molds, it will form ice cubes, which will become very unpleasant."
FOR READERS OF FRENCH
Magasin Pittoresque: No 46 - 1878
REMINDER: The Magasin Pittoresque was a nineteenth century French magazine. Issues can be found on Gallica. Also, most articles are accompanied by at least one image, and so some may interest even those who do not read French.
I keep thinking I could save time by cutting back on the off-topic part of these lists, but HOW does one resist something like the story of a black slave, freed for his music, who helped determine the Arab scale? Or an early mention of color photography? All this, once again, but part of what each edition offers.
Once I looked out at the dome of the Pantheon at eye level, not knowing the street was named for its architect - When lock makers made lamps (very spiky
lamps) - "So many complaints and quarrels,... so many bailiffs, old and new" - A liqueur or a lemonade? "It is wonderful, this brew!" - "Americans are not
as indifferent to the arts and their development as is generally thought." (Well, not in the nineteenth century anyway). - "Brouwer was really a great
painter, with personal accents" - "The population of Constantine is very hard working." - Is Velasquez in his own picture? - The necessary held "an ivory
tablet, two small crystal flasks with gold stoppers, a golden knife, golden pincers, a spoon, a pencil holder, an ear pick." - "In sharpening the end of your pen, your thought sharpens all by itself" - Desportes' works, gone with the walls that held them - the first French-language coin; struck in Naples - Samuel Roger: "When a new book comes out, I read an old one" - Did Napoleon choose (after the fact) his own birth date? - Imagine a dagger like a
particularly malevolent tripod... - Once blind musicians played only to be mocked - A wolf in plant's clothing - In 18th c. Paris, being a provost wasn't what it used to be - Louis XVI and Napoleon agreed on one man - Advice on recognizing a 19th century fake (no doubt they're still around) - A telegraph that draws? As in... a fax? - Handy in a tavern to have your dice in the stem of your glass. - Music makes you smarter (the 19th c. version) - Strange to use two doves to bang a door - Mme de Scudery, bestseller (or would you prefer a little Boileau)? - Forget the tune? Check the window - Or follow the nodding head on the organ and hum along... - Rouens, fleurets and blancarts: fancy words for strong cloth - A whole hunt circles the top of a cane - Ever thought of perfuming your pets? - "glass windows in carriages came from Italy" - Saxe admired Chevert the more, knowing his father was a beadle - Quirin Brekelencamp: "His touch is ample and simple" - "Far from rejecting the representation of men, the prophets and angels, [the Shiite sect].. produced a prodigious quantity of paintings" - Monge: "A man of heart must in all times, in all places, consider himself as the representative of decent people, and openly take their defense when they are attacked" - OK, OK, Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, but who said it first? - Freron: "I spend my life in the cafe; I compose brochures, pages there" - "Pagan children" adorn a bishop's crook - "Buffon's contemporaries often made unfavorable remarks on his character" - Beneath the houses on a Paris bridge, the boatmen compete - Sharpening a pen: last week we had the implement, this week we have the act - admire the white of your paper and think thanks to Chaptal - From the "Glorieux": "Chase away the natural, it will come back at a gallop" - Did a man who tried to dissuade La Fontaine from writing fables DESERVE to be rich? - Not a Rembrandt this sketch, but pretty lively - First you could send your voice; now you could keep it - Musical talent freed a slave, who then changed Arab music - Auguste Lechevalier, lawyer and accidental meteorologist - Joseph I of Portugal survived, but numerous others died because of his near escape
6- Apothecary (continued)
37 - Old Regime administration: bailiffs and seneschals
54 - A citron bitter
68 - group of portraits by Velasquez
72 - an 18th c 'necessary'
76 - Valencienne porcelain
85 - quill pen sharpeners
123 - concert of the blind at the Saint-Ovide fair
129 - Old Regime administration: Provosts
151 - candle-snuffing scissors
176 - 17th c drinking glass
184 - 17th c door knocker
185 - what people were reading in 167...
187 - automatic heads in churches
190 - linen from Rouen
201 - 18th c cane pommel
207 - carriage glass
238 - the unfindable origin of a phrase
253 - 18th c. bishop's crook
276 - nautical wrestling in Paris
281 - Bouwer - man sharpening a pen
310 - Little dictionary of trades: appraisers, and other trades starting
319 - quotes from Nericault-Destouches' "Glorieux"
349 - a 17th c sketch
351 - ironwork candleholder 17th c
356 - the winter of 1740, one of the worst on record
357 - attack on the life of Joseph I of Portugal
361 - A wanderer's notebook, 1796
366 - carrier pigeons under Louis XIV (an anecdote)
381 - image of 17th c barber
384 - 17th c processional candleholder
9 - Soufflot, architect of the Pantheon
52 - Adrien Brouwer, painter
90 - Swiss philanthropist David Purry
97 - painter Francois Desportes
110 - thoughts of an old man: Samuel Roger
119 - Napoleon's real birthday?
126 - Linneaus and the Venus flytrap
131 - hero Jean Bouzard
207 - Chevert and Marshal de Saxe
209 - painter Quirin Brekelencamp
216 - geometer Gaspard Monge
239 - writer Freron
255 - some aspects of Buffon's life
295 - chemist Chaptal
315 - economist/educator Jean-Baptiste Say
334 - poverty of a few authors
353 - pastel by John Russell
405 - painter/poet Samuel Van Hoostraeten
Off-topic but of interest
31 - very ornate 15h c lamp
46 - art in the US
57 - a shoemaker's shop in Constantine
100 - Neapolitan peddlers
104 - the first French coin marked in French
120 - three-blade dagger 16th c
151 - fraudulant antiques: warning to collectors
162 - the drawing telegraph and other telephones
168 - caterpillar remover 16th c
179 - music helping the mind
187 - plain chant in stained glass
203 - pets of the ancients
213 - the Last Judgement - Persian style
219 - Haitian proverbs ("When you haven't yet crossed the stream, don't
insult the crocodile's mother")
308 - Cruikshank
334 - color photography
343 - the phonograph
350 - Said, black inventor (7th c) of the Arab scale
"Napoleon's genius raised him up; his character brought him down"
Madame Campan, Journal anecdotique de Mme Campan, ou Souvenirs, 1824 (53)