SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 53 - October 21, 2006

An 18th Century Lyre Guitar

law scales THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Sodomy (5)

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for 10-12 guests - chickens in galantine

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
inter text Magasin Pittoresque: No 6 - 1838


ON-LINE ARTICLE: An 18th Century Lyre Guitar

Having just reread David Copperfield, I find myself wondering if this was what Dickens had in mind when he has Dora play "a glorified instrument, resembling a guitar":

The Research and Treatment of a Late 18th-Century Lyre Guitar: A Collaborative Effort
David B. Blanchfield,Winterthur Museum/University of Delaware

ABSTRACT: An eighteenth-century French lyre guitar (a variant of the familiar Eu- ropean guitar) was examined and treated during 1995–96. Visual and technical analysis revealed that extensive adhesive and material failure had occurred overall, leading to severe deformation of the wooden plates comprising the instrument, and the loss of decorative as well as structural elements. The treatment of the instrument relied on a careful balance of conservation and crafts techniques and this paper focuses on details of these techniques. The treatment was informed by the multidisciplinary approach inherent in objects conservation, which is ideally suited to the composite (and functional) nature of musical instruments
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NEW! The sodomy cases included here have now been collected in the second volume of

The Old Regime Police Blotter II:
Sodomites, Tribads and "Crimes Against Nature"

Available on Kindle only - click below:

This new work expands on several cases here and adds more material on sodomy involving female and heterosexual couples. Notably, it includes most of the surviving transcripts for the Chausson and Deschauffours cases; those for the latter especially are wide-ranging and full of human drama.

For this last installment of this subject, here is a closer look at one of the terms mentioned earlier.

By this period, bougre, the word which gave English speakers "bugger", had become so generic an insult its original meaning was rarely intended, if never quite forgotten. Its own origin might surprise some: it was derived from Bulgare - that is, Bulgarian. Bearing in mind that the French word appears to have referred to a specific group of Bulgarians:

heretics and in particular... Cathars, also called Cotereaux, Rupterians, Poplicans, Bonshomes [goodfellows], Bégars, Patarins, etc.... It is not impossible, says Baissac, in his *Histoire de Diable et de la diablerie francaise*, that the idea of sodomy attached to this word was suggested by the point in their doctrine which, proscribing marriage as a sacrement and only admitting it as a bad inevitability from which the perfect among them freed themselves, would seem to favor the foul life for which sodomites were reproached. Public opinion, in the middle ages, was ready enough to make sodomy a corollary of celibacy.
l'Intermediaire des Chercheurs, 1895-2 (62)


The execution of two sodomites on June 5, 1750 has previously been mentioned here.

July 27, 1750. The parlement of Paris, which rarely makes examples of severity in a certain genre, has had burned, in the last two weeks, two men for the sin of non-conformity and publicly whipped seven or eight women for the contrary sin. These two events gave M. Bertin the idea for an epigram which I found rather amusing.

'Tell us then, lady Justice,
which of two loves' service do you prefer?
For having lit the torch of Sodom
A poor couple has been grilled on the Greve;
Today, for having sliced some mackeral
and relit the flames that Adam felt for Eve,
On the ass of a donkey we see an honest housewife
For whom, unfairly, you have sought trouble.
Decide nonetheless, because a man must, for God's sake,
be either Villars or Richelieu.'
Bachaumont (Tome 1, 451)
NOTES: The Greve was the place of execution; the female form of 'mackeral' was a word for a madam; the Duke of Richelieu was known as a ladies' man and Villars clearly the opposite.


The fact that Pascal was broken on the wheel before being burned was clearly a punishment for the attempted murder. Was it the only reason a (relatively rare) capital sentence was imposed at all?

The fact that the police operative here was named Foucault is exquisite.

October 13. Since the execution of Deschauffour no sodomist has been executed. The government was afraid to make the sin against nature more common in making it well known. Thus it is that the prince Buaf******, the actor Monval, the notary Margantin & numerous others taken in the act have only been punished with exile, prison, bicêtre, or a simple punishment by the police according to the personages or the circumstances.

This vice, which was formerly called the handsome vice, because it was attributed to great lords, to people of wit or to Adonis', has become so fashionable, that today there is no rank, from dukes to lackeys & the common folk, who is not infected with it. The commissioner Foucault, who recently died, was charged with this task, & showed to his friends a fat book in which were written all the names of pederasts known to the police; he claimed that there were almost as many of them as of girls, that is, about forty thousand. There are also public places for prostitution of this sort, & in the Tuileries gardens a canton is known that is affected to male hustlers seeking their fortune.

Justice thought that it must finally rouse itself about a crime too widespread to fear revealing it & to not demand a shining example. The day before yesterday it had burned a pederast named Pascal, who had taken the nickname of Chabanne. It seems certain that he was a Capuchin monk, & that he was a priest. He was not given any qualification in the sentence out of regard for the clergy, & further not to draw its complaints.

This wretch first was broken alive, because have encountered resistance on the part of a little savoyard [that is, a chimney-sweep] who did not want to yield to his desires, he riddled him with seventeen knife blows & left him almost dead. This horrible scene took place on the first of October, in broad daylight and in front of almost the whole neighborhood.

Since Damiens no execution has been so well-attended, there were people all the way up to the roofs.
Bachaumont (T23, 204-205)

From CHEZ JIM Books:
and a history of the CROISSANT:


If Pascal's death was meant to serve as an example, it would seem to have worked as well as chasing the hookers from the Palais Royal.

December 4 [1784]. Pederasty, today the great fashionable vice, like tribadery among women, was been carried for some time to such a degree of scandal at the court, that his majesty wanted action taken against some lords caught in the act. A sort of harem they had established at Versailles is spoken of where the berdaches went for their use. It was pointed out to the king that the spectacle of a legal punishment would be very dangerous, would besides dishonor many great houses, finally would no doubt excite more and more the taste for curiosity about this sin. The king as a result of these admonitions contented himself with banishing several. The marquis of Cre***, head of the household of Madame, is cited above all; he was accused of having debauched a heiduc of the queen's. Since he has been gone for two months & in his property in Flanders, this rumor is credited to the point that M. d'Angévillier, his friend, has written him that it would be best if he returned to end, in showing himself, the unfortunate rumors being spread about him. Nonetheless he has has not yet come.

On this same subject, one of the most famous preachers of Paris, father Cesaire, barefoot Carmelite, cousin of father Elysée, is cited; it is said that that they wanted to lose him in the Franche-Comté, his homeland, where he is currently, & and that he is accused of sodomy before the parlement of this same province. We must await further information on this strange trial.
Bachaumont (Tome 27, 50-51)
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From CHEZ JIM Books:
and a history of the CROISSANT:

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18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for 10-12 guests - chickens in galantine

This is the fourth of six entrees in the first service of this model meal. The Cuisinier Royale et Bourgeois itself offers a rather appetizing recipe for suckling pig in galantine, but nothing for chicken.

Chicken in galantine.

Pluck and debone entirely. Take out part of the flesh with which you will make an ordinary fine stuffing, well thickened. Stretch the skin of the chicken out neatly on a napkin. Put the stuffing on it, then arrange thin sticks of lard, pistachios, thin sticks of truffles & of ham, all well arranged and set well one against the other. Put the rest of the stuffing on top, a grain of salt & and other light seasonings. Roll your galantine up tightly, & wrapped in lardoons. Put in a white cloth. Roll & tie up the two ends. Cook on the coals & serve under whatever sauce you want. Can be served cold.
Les Dons de Comus (II, 109-110)
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fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys

Magasin Pittoresque: No 6 - 1838

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 know," said Racine, "that the arms of our family are a rat and a swan [cygne], of which I kept only the swan, because the rat shocked me." [rat + cygne = ra-sinye] - February, 24, 1670, Louis XIV announces the start of the Invalides - In 1740, a kitchen was built on the frozen Thames - "the perfect model of a Scandinavian Jupiter" - The abbe Vertot deserved to be placed "among our second-rate writers" - An obelisk beside a fountain in Calcutta memorialized men who died of thirst - Louis XIV's concern for precedence was the first step "towards establishing in all of Europe the primacy of representations of the French monarchy" - A French medal showed Montyon on a par with Franklin - Before ASL, there was Monk Sign Language - "As they worked passionately to give a master to the one and the other hemisphere, I could never manage to find one for myself" - Once ornate ceremonies lose their force, "a calm curiosity is the only feeling which they must inspire to healthy intelligences." - In 1748, Louis XV gave the alderman permission to build a monument in his honor (big of him, heh?) - October 15, 1815, at 7:30 in the evening, Napoleon set foot on St. Helen - "A miracle!" said Bernin, "a great king, young and French, was able to keep still for an hour" - "All my memories stopped at the sight of the scaffold and the street" - Parisians spent twice as much on tobacco as on baths - "The world is a sea; the galley is life." - Peter the Great paid his French architect by beating him with a cane - Charles I kept Cromwell from emigrating (oops...) - "Tieck will be counted among the great poetic geniuses of Germany" - Some very serious words on laughter - A satire in the form of the chatter of friends around the bed of a woman who has just given birth - If you're counting on a sure bet, you'd better be good at math - "The patriotism which inspired O'Connel was so fervent that it devoured all his other passions" - RIchard the Fearless wanted to be buried where people would walk on his grave - "Oh, if Diderot... had lived, how he would have loved his painting!" - The Company of the Crazy Mother (Mere Folle) was military but not always disciplined - Lithuanian brandy "would have made a goat scream like a witch" - "When the French take Arras / Mice will eat cats" - Haydn wrote a bad mass; at thirteen - A man happy with mutton hash is hard to corrupt - In Rome, a bankrupt wore a berretum

27 - "Speaking Coats of Arms"
33 - The history of the Invalides
37 - harsh winters
83 - the Black Hole of Calcutta
90 - disputes of precedence among ambassadors
110 - signs used by monks vowed to silence
133 - Ceremony for crowning the kings of France
140 - history of monuments of the Place Louis XV
180 - Hogarth - election meal in England
227 - The Imperial Castle of Petershoff
277 - Laughter (pamphlets on)
282 - Cackles around a new mother 1623
290 - A singular bet
365 - A Russian mission in 1662
369 - The Siege of Arras (and the city itself)
389 - treatment of bankrupts

52 - sculptor Thorvaldsen
67 - the abbe Vertot
109 - philanthropist Auget de Montyon
129 - Valentin Jamerai Duval
157 - the Island of St. Helen (and its famous guest)
159 - artist Le Bernin
219 - The tablets of Pierre Mathieu
227 - Oliver Cromwell
253 - poet Ludwig Tieck
333 - Ireland and O'Connel
353 - painter Prudhon
372 - Haydn
376 - Walpole and the MP

178 - a hanged man describes the experience
194 - average consumption by an inhabitant of Paris
341 - Memorable wills
363 - The Company of the Crazy Mother at Dijon

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End quote

"High positions are like the summits of rocks: only eagles and reptiles can reach them."

Mme. Necker, quoted in Le Magasin Pittoresque, No 6 (382)

FROM CHEZ JIM BOOKS Three works on eighteenth century subjects:

For some sample 18th century vegetarian recipes, click here.

copyright 2006 Jim Chevallier.
When using brief extracts from this site, please credit properly and provide a link back to this site.
(NOTE: Most translations, except where otherwise noted, are by Jim Chevallier and are copyrighted as such.)
Please do not reproduce extended pieces (recipes, translated pieces, etc.) without prior permission.


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