SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 50 - September 30, 2006

GRIVOISERIE: The Ladies Delight inter text MONARCHY: The Golden Shower

law scales THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Sodomy - The Lebel Case

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: Meal for 10-12: Terrine of Partridge with Cabbage

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
inter text Magasin Pittoresque: No 3 - 1835


GRIVOISERIE: The Ladies Delight

Project Gutenberg's HTML version of this:

The Ladies Delight

Author: Anonymous
London, 1732
which looks almost like a PDF, begins:
AN A D D R E S S TO ALL Well provided Hibernians.


AS Nature hath been so very Indulgent to ye, as to stock your Gardens with Trees of the largest Growth, for which Reason ye are caress'd, whilst Men of less Parts, tho' in some Things more deserving, are laugh'd at, and excluded all Company.
If that entendre is not double-enough, here's a bit about the Tree of Life:
THE Tree of Life is a succulent Plant, consisting of one only strait stem, on the top of which is a Pistillum or Apex, at some times Glandiform and resembling a May-Cherry, tho' at others, more like the Nut of the Avellana or Filbeard-Tree.

Its fruits, contrary to most others, grow near the Root; they are usually no more than two in number, their bigness somewhat exceeding that of an ordinary Nutmeg both contained in one strong Siliqua, or purse; which, together with the whole root of the plant, is commonly thick set with numerous Fibrilla or capillary Tendrils.
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MONARCHY: The Golden Shower

One reason the Bastille was a relatively comfortable prison was that nobles were often sent there, among them misbehaving young men whose families (or others) felt they could use a "time out". In this case, the unnamed young man (most likely titled) narrowly escaped such a "correction" thanks to the kindness - and sense of humor? - of the German-born Princess Palatine. The Secretary of State, writing to a police officer, was less amused:

Versailles, March 8, 1701

The man who had the insolence to piss in the Opera box above that where Madame was, deserves a severe punishment; but since she is glad to pardon him, it must end there; nonetheless, if you can learn where he is, it would be good if you reprimanded him, and that you tell him, were it not for Madame's kindness to him, H. M. would have him punished as he deserves.
Ravaisson, Archives de la Bastille, 1693-1702 (328)
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Again, a case involving lackeys and valets. Several individuals are mentioned here, but the story that emerges tends to center on Lebel (who may, given the dates here, have been denounced by Petit). His is the kind of arrest of a minor player that makes numerous more prominent persons nervous. Merely being mentioned in such a case would lead people to draw conclusions. Regarding the letter to Tallard, for instance, Ravaisson notes:

The duke of Saint-Simon said, with no other comment, that M. de Tallard did not get on well with his wife; one sees here the cause of their misunderstandings, and that the wife was not completely in the wrong.

Pontchartrain's concern that Desforges be interrogated secretly grows directly from his concern for any families whose members may be mentioned.

Lebel's very dense deposition does indeed include names of people known from other sources as sodomites (not to mention some rather catty gossip). It should not be forgotten however that he probably thought it was in his best interest to provide as many names as possible.

Overall, this set of documents reads almost like a novel, with a broad sweep including both tragic and comic elements, an unusually comprehensive look at the "sodomite scene" of the period and elements of prostitution and child molestation mentioned alongside of enthusiastically consensual activity. It also includes the literary trick of leaving unexplained holes in the narrative, which in this case were probably due to the chaotic state of the files following the fall of the Bastille.

A few random notes:

  • It is amusing to see how Petit's name incrementally grows across successive reports to "Petit de Boution de Coubertin".
  • His father's being a "farmer" may refer to a tax farmer, rather than an agriculturalist.
  • Though this is probably fortuitous, Lebel - who is described as very good-looking - has a name which translates, if a little archaically, to "the handsome one".
  • Chaulot and Chanlot appear to be the same person; one version is obviously a transcription error.
  • On the rather tasty sounding meat dishes eaten by Petit and his friends, Ravaisson says, "It was no doubt Lent; we will note as a moral detail that the commissioner seems to find the inobservation of the fast as grave a crime as that he is denouncing to the lieutenant of police."
  • In regard to private imprisonment at the home of the police officer Aulmont (and his father), further research confirms that this practice was already outlawed at this point, but exceptions were permitted for certain types of cases. The discretion required here may have been one reason for initially holding Petit apart.
  • The Bastille's Tower of the Well, at the northwest corner, looked out over a rear courtyard which included a small well. The Tower of the Chapel once held the old chapel, which was replaced by one on the other side.
  • Junca's mention of a "pierced cage" is unusual, and seems to suggest some kind of barred enclosure within the cell itself. No other account of the Bastille I have consulted mentions such a structure.
  • Pontchartrain's mention of a "confrontation" refers to a standard stage in the normal (and extremely bureaucratic) procedure when the accused was confronted with his or her accusers. Its absence here is one indication of how separate this case was kept from the normal judicial system.

With that, the contents of this very long file:

PETIT [in April 5, 1702, out April 16 1704]; DESFORGES [April 19, 1702-July 27, 1702]; LEBEL [May 10, 1702-January 11, 1703]; LOUVART [May 12, 1702 (died there June 18)].



Martin and his wife, who maintain a furnished room on the rue de Seine, near the Galley, have come to inform me that for a month, they have rented a room to a young man, named Petit, of about 25-26 years of age, with a handsome face, who receives day and night and brings several young men with which, not only does he make a debauche of meat and other things, but still more prostitutes himself to all the young men who come to find him in his bed, until 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when he gets up and gets dressed. Then goes out to the public games to find other company, whom he brings back to spend the night at his place; that last night, they were again six and ate there a loin of veal and a quarter of lamb; that they having noticed that their bed was all spoiled, and having complained of this to Petit, he threatened to have them killed if they mentioned that to anyone; that he was to leave his room tomorrow, and go lodge very near, above the Galley; that this young man is very criticized for his excesses, and that everywhere he has lodged, he has been put out because of his debauchery; that they have not been able to find out more about his region and his family, than that he was from Beauce, and proud of it; that he frequented a young man who says he has the honor of being your in-law or relation, but could not know the name. As this information seemed to me of great importance, relative to this foul debauchery, I thought myself obliged to inform you of it, in awaiting your orders which I will execute punctually.

March 19, 1702

I have just arrested, executing your orders, Petit de Boution, and taken him to M. Aulmont's. He told us he is a native of Chevreuse, son of a farmer, that he has been in Paris for four years. When I browsed through his papers which I found enclosed in a round trunk, it seemed to me that he had formerly been the personal valet of M. de Gadagne, and I found a sealed letter addressed to M. the count of Tallard, lieutenant general of the King's armies. All these letters are filled with discourse which prove, what is more, the abominable trade which he has long practiced, and yesterday he had a private supper with a man of good family who is highly suspected of this disorder; his papers have been returned to his trunk, locked, and the key in his possession, and the trunk in the hands of M. Aulmont. I believe if you have the goodness to examine this man, you will learn frightful things on his trade.

March 22, 1702

Lebel is a good-looking lad, well made, formerly a lackey, and who at present passes himself off as a man of quality.

This man is in the worst debauchery, and it is a place where one sees enter every day young men with people of quality and even monks, who pass whole days in the greatest debauchery, and it is said that the sin of Sodom is committed there with complete freedom.

Note that this is now two memoirs given against this man regarding this debauche, and that he was driven from the parish of Saint-Sulpice, and from there went to live behind the Capuchins, in a house very suited to this kind of debauchery.

Versailles, April 5, 1702

You will find enclosed an order to put in the B. Petit de Boution, where you must interrogate him fully on his bad trade, and send me his interrogation with the documents found in his trunk, after which we will see if it is better to put him in Vincennes or some distant castle.

Sunday April 9, at 8 o'clock in the evening, M. Aulmont le jeune brought and delivered M. Petit de Boution de Coubertin, near Chevreuse, etc., who is suspected, and even accused of being a sodomite, the which has been detained more than 15 days at M. Aulmont's, that I received upon his arrival, and had put in the first room, alone, in the Tower of the Well.

H.M. is quite willing to drive Desforges from Paris, as you suggest; but he must first be interrogated on the things of which he is accused. I am sending you for this purpose an order to have him taken to the B., where you will submit him secretly to an interrogation which you will send me, if you please, which being known only by you and the clerk, will cause no prejudice to the families which find themselves involved.

Monday April 24, at 8 o'clock in the morning, M. Aulmont le jeune brought and delivered M. Lilièvre, sir Desforges, claiming to be a gentleman and master clockmaker, etc., who is accused of having talked too much and made bad speeches in society, whom I have received and had put in the third room of the tower of the Chapel, in the pierced cage, well closed.

H. M. is willing to put in the hospital general Lebel and Louvart, but they must first be interrogated about the crimes of which they are accused. As there is no confrontation to be held, this will be a short procedure, and if you want to hide it entirely from public knowledge, you can send them to the B. for a few days.


Friday May 12, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, M. de Savery, etc., brought in M. Dupressoir-Louvart, said to be the son of a wigmaker, dressed as a marquis, whom the governor has received, and had put in the first room of the tower of the Chapel, locked.

Sunday May 14, at 9 o'clock in the morning, M. de Savery brought in M. Lebel, being in the same affair as Dupressoir, there being one order for both, whom I had put in the fifth calotte [top] room of the Bertaudiere, locked. AUTOGRAPH MEMOIR OF M. D'ARGENSON, INITIALED BY LEBEL
June 2, 1702
[NOTE: This seems to be a secret interrogation of the sort requested by Pontchartrain for Desforges. Given the number of names it mentions, his concern was justified. The note that it is 'autograph' seems to indicate that d'Argenson himself documented the interrogation, which was extremely unusual, unless it is merely a formality indicating that a clerk took notes under his direction. But it seems likely that in the end he did not even trust a clerk to hear what Lebel had to say.]

People with whom Lebel has committed the sin of sodomy.

He is 24 years old and a native of Paris. His father is a personal valet of M. de Chaulot, secretary of commandments of the late M. the Prince, and he studied at the college of the Jesuits until the second level, after having been a choir boy at Saint-Sulpice, for 3 years. Duplessis, notorious sodomite, who lodges in around Saint-Etienne des Grecs, and walks every day in the Luxembourg garden to seduce young schoolboys there, was the first to debauche him, and it was in this same garden that he listened to his foul propositions; he was then only 10 years old, and from then on Duplessis had almost everyday a group of young men whom he successively abused.

He furnished him to Coutel, who lives in the Palais-Royal, and who is not only a sodomite, but impious.

Astier was from the same group; all three go to the Luxembourg and in the billiard halls of the place Saint-Michel, almost every evening, to have parties with young children, attract them to the tavern or in their room, and there commit the worst abominations.

As they have no wealth, and they live only on this scheming, they deliver young men whom they have debauched to people who pay them well, and they share the price.

The abbe of Villefort, who was in the B., and since driven from Paris for similar horrors, also knew him and furnished him to M. de Ch., discharged colonel, who gave him a gold louis, and then pretended he was his soldier; but his friends got him out of this. He knew several other people whose principal study was to corrupt youth and conduct an open traffic of them. Here are their names:

M. Leroux, who lives behind the church of the Madeleine, boasted of this in his presence; the former sends handsome lackeys to lords in the countryside, when asked, and arranges here the conditions of their engagements. Comtois, lemonade-vendor, who maintains his shop in the rue des Bons-Enfans, near the Palais-Royal; M. de Sancerre, de Montpellier, who lodges in the rue Dauphine, across from the hotel d'Anjou; M. de la Guillaumie, abandoned to all sorts of debaucheries, and shut up among the PP. [Pères - fathers] of Charity of Charenton, by order of the King, at the request of his parents; Baptiste, who was in the service of M. de Vendome, and has long abused his confidence, going so far as to boast that he furnished him young men, and that he was well paid for it; M. the abbe of Capistron, who seems to have been charged with the same task; M. the abbe de Larris, formerly in the Sainte-Genevieve quarter; the latter has an agreeable appearance and prostituted himself on his own; the abbé Lecomte, who was driven from the seminary of Saint-Magloire, is a native of Paris, and for a long time has made it his principal study to attract schoolboys to corrupt them; the abbe Dumoutier, good friend of the abbé Lecomte and in the same trade; the abbé Bruneau, who has several relatives in the robe [the judiciary]; the abbé Servien, and it is said that he has in the quarter of Saint-Paul a private house which he only uses for this purpose.

M. the duke of L. [Jean-Francois Paul, duke de Lesdiguières, son-in-law of the Marshal de Duras], who in August 1699, being accompanied by a person of distinction whom he [Lebel] did not know, asked him to come sup with them, although he had never spoken to him, which he did not agree to do.

He knows as well that the people of this abominable trade meet up at Chez Livry, lemonade-vendor of the place of Palais-Royal, but does not think Livery is involved in this.

Has heard said that the last ambassador of Portugal was this way, and that he had in his service a tall page name Louis, whom he had since made his gentleman, and who, after the departure of the ambassador had quite a brilliant carriage in Paris.

It was said then that the duke of Lesiguières loved this page and that he gave him a lot of money, and recalls that a ring of one hundred louis was spoken of.

The son of Alvarez [then a famous diamond merchant] and the abbe Bailly, son of the mistress of the president de Maisons, close friends; Robert or Gobert, closet valet at the duke d'Orleans'.

Suspected the young duke d'Estrées, of having this same leaning, and knows that he wanted to raise up a tall very good-looking lackey, whom he found in the church of the Jacobins, into his service, which caused talk in the evening at the Tuileries, as the most ridiculous thing possible.

Formerly Father Armant, of Paris, capucin, was involved in these abominations. This was before he took orders, and now he lives an exemplary life. He lives in the convent of Saint-Honoré, and he was known in the life under the name of Ville-aux-Bois; he has for uncle M. Amoung, clerk of the great council, and he is about to be ordained a priest.

The respondent offers to uncover in this style the most secret intrigues of Paris, above all in regard to regents and tutors who corrupt the innocence of their schoolboys, and he only asks for all payment to be shut up in Saint-Lazare, on bread and water, while waiting to be considered worthy to take orders at Joyenval, which is a Premontain monastery, fulfilling the vow he has made. M. the bishop of Chartres is the abbot of this abbey, where he was about to be received, when he was arrested and brought to this castle.


Sunday June 18, at 11 o'clock in the morning or thereabout, Dupressoir-Louvart, prisoner locked up alone, in the first room of the tower of the Chapel, with no appearance of sickness or madness, except for a venereal disease, which a despair led him to cut off all his noble parts, entirely removed and thrown by himself into the corner of his fireplace, and seeing that he would not die of this fast enough, and that the hour when he was to be brought his dinner approached, he took his same knife, and cut his throat all the way to the bone. A moment later, M. Lecuyer, captain of the doors, going in his room to bring him his dinner, found Dupressoir on his bed, dying, covered with blood. Having come at once to alert M. the governor, and ask M. Giraud, the confessor, who ran there at once; but having found him incapable of talking, he showed by signs, that he understood everything the confessor told him, and even had enough strength to lift himself up, and indicated that he wanted to write. He was at once brought what was necessary. Who then wrote on a piece of paper: I ask pardon of God with all my heart; it is the despair. He continued to show good signs of a repentant Christian until his death, which was at 8 o'clock in the afternoon. M. the governor having informed M. d'Argenson, he came the evening of the same day, alone, to be informed of this unfortunate event, and what was to be done, having found him dead; it was agreed that he would send the next day Monday, at 7 o'clock in the morning, the commissioner Bizoton, alone, to have the body examined, and a statement of the condition in which he found him, which he did in the presence of MM. Corbé, lieutenant of the company, of Rosarges, officer, of Reil, surgeon, & of R., turn-key [possibly Ru, mentioned in many other connections]. This procedures done in the moring, the priest of Saint-Paul came to remove Dupressoir-Louvart's body, which was buried under the name of Pierre Massuque, in the presence and care of La Coste, sergeant of the company, and of some soldiers - Monday June 19, 1702

POINTCHARTRAIN TO M. DE SAINT-MARS [the Bastille governor, or warden]

June 19, 1702
I have received the letter which you have written me concerning Louvart, who fell into despair; the best way to prevent this sort of accident is to not leave the prisoners any knives or other things they can use to a bad purpose, and to visit and have them visited often; I understand by the word often, the morning, the evening, and 3 or 4 times a day, and even at night, those of whom one might suspect.

Versailles, June 21, 1702

I have read to H. M. the interrogation which you have credited to Lebel; he wants you to fully investigate and in detail all the miseries and abominations of which he began to tell you, in promising to have him received in Saint-Lazare, as he wishes. Work then on this business incessantly, with no concern for whom he could name; you will judge better than anyone of what importance it is to look further into what concerns the regents and tutors who corrupt schoolboys.

Marly, July 1702.
When you have learned form Lebel the names of the young men he has indicated to you, take the trouble to send it to me and to await the orders of the King before having them arrested.

July 28, 1702
I am sending you the order to have Desforges put in the hospital; he will stay there 2 years, after which he will be driven from Paris.


Thursday August 3, at 10 o'clock in the morning, M. Aulmont the elder [l'ainé - the other is the younger, lejeune] came, etc., to take M. Lelievre Desforges, gentleman, who worked on clocks and guns, who being detained here, has been transferred to the hospital general, to be held there until further orders from the King. - Accused of several foul acts.
Desforges was taken to Bicêtre.

Versailles, April 16, 1704

Petit de Boution is to be taken to the hospital, from where he can be sent to the Chartreux, if he finds some convent willing to receive him.

Lelievere, sir Desforges, etc.

In 1702, he was at the B., for several months; he tried to corrupt young girls of 10, and it does not seem appropriate to release him yet.

In 1701, Lebel, his father, being head butler at the hotel of M. de Chanlot, secretary of commandments of M. the Prince, and this young man, perverse since childhood, after having studied in a college of this town, and given himself over to the foulest prostitutions, held at his home a school of abominations and sodomy; he is convicted of every disorder by his own confession; but after having been 9 months in the B., he has asked with insistence to be transferred into this house (Saint-Lazare), there to do a somewhat more volontary penitence; nonetheless, his spirit still seems restless, which makes it to be feared that his conversion is still quite uncertain.

I have even learned that since he has been in Saint-Lazare, he has given new proofs of his perverted and corrupted inclinations, despite the protestations and oaths so often repeated which he has used to fool me. Thus, it is no longer as a favor that he must be left in this house, but by reason for justice and penitence.

Martin Petit, put in Bicêtre.

In 1704, he came from the B., and is a quite unworthy character; sodomy was the principal occupation of his youth, and when the prostitution of his person became useless, he prostituted others and made a revenue from it. Here he wants to be a chartreuse monk, there he wants to be a soldier, and he would be suited enough to it without the perverse habit of which he is possessed.

In 1705. I think even that one could give him to an officer in confidence, in forbidding him to let him come to Paris, where it is to be feared that the sight of his old comrades make him return to his old disorders.
[Pontchartrain's note: Give him for a soldier in the regiment of Noailles, May 31, 1706.]

April 19, 1705
I am sending you the order to release Lebel from Saint-Lazare; see that he immediately goes to the employment M. du Tronchet wants to give him, his freedom being granted him only on that condition.

November 28, 1706

You will see by the plea of Louvart's mother, the request she makes for a diamond and the things of the deceased; I do not doubt that you will return to her everything that belonged to him. Thus, I have told this woman to address herself to you and to justify to you that she is her son's heir; because if he had a wife or children, it would be more just to give them his things.
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From CHEZ JIM Books:
and a history of the CROISSANT:

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18th CENTURY RECIPE: Meal for 10-12: Terrine of Partridge with Cabbage

A terrine is an earthenware pot, most often round, it seems, in the eighteenth century, and, in earlier times, a chamber pot as well (hopefully the two uses were not often confused.) It was also a type of cooked dish. Today, if you order a terrine, it will be hard to distinguish from a paté (many of which are served in elongated earthenware pots). The Larousse Gastronomique says firmly this must be served cold. But the Old Regime terrine was closer to a stew, and served hot (a crock pot, or the dishes served in crockery in some Asian restaurants, might be considered modern equivalents). It may be that, over the years, cooks discovered that the dish improved when left to cool and settle.

Though the Nouveau Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois lists this entrée as the first (after the centerpiece) in the first service for its model meal, it only includes one recipe for a terrine per se (463, 1705 ed):


What is called a Terrine, is a very substantial Entrée: here is what it is. One must have six Quail, four young Pigeons, two Chickens & a Quarter of Mutton cut into pieces. Put to cook on the coals in a terrine, on a low fire, with strips of lard in the bottom, to keep it from burning; ; or small lard cut into pieces. Once cooked, skim off the grease, & put in its place good Veal juice, blanched & cooked hearts of lettuce, a little puree of green peas, with peas or asperagus tips. Let them cook together a bit longer, & and only serve after skimming well.

A nineteenth century dictionary, the Dictionnaire General de la Cuisine Ancienne et Moderne (1853), offers this recipe for "old" - eighteenth century? - style terrine (485):

Terrine in the old style - Cook a plump chicken, a partridge, the saddle of a hare, a rump of veal and a rump of mutton in bouillon, all larded with moderately thick lard seasoned with fines herbes and spices. Let all this boil together. Then peel grilled chestnuts, clean them properly and put them to cook with the meat. Close the terrine tightly and seal it with firm dough so that all this cooks in its juices. Skim the fat off the sauce before serving it and add in then a glass of Canary wine.

These recipes give a good idea of the old version of a terrine. None of these works offers one specifically for partridge with cabbage, but the combination otherwise occurs frequently. The following recipe might do perfectly well on its own, but could also be adapted to a terrine:

Partridge with Cabbage

Take three old partridge; after having cleaned them, truss them like chickens; lard them with large strips of lard, seasoned with salt, pepper, fine spices, grated and strained aromatics, parsley and chopped spring onions; line a casserole with some bits of veal, two carrots, two onions and a half-clove of garlic; put your partridges on it, cover them with strips of lard; pour some good bases over them, or some bouillon or consomme; put your casserole on the fire, take it off; cover it with a round of buttered paper, as well as its cover; put it on the work surface, with fire under it and hot cinders on it; let it cook an hour or an hour and a quarter; then prepare the cabbage [see below for preparation], in which you will cook a cervalas and a piece of small lard; pare thirty red carrots, as many turnips; give them the diameter of a one franc piece (their length must be of the height of the mold I am going to mention); blanch these vegetables; drain them and let them cook in consommé, with a pinch of sugar to remove the bitterness; having let your cervelas and your lard cool, take a mold; butter it; put in the bottom a round of white paper and a band of paper around your mold inside and of its height; cut your cervelas into pieces like coins and your lard into slices, the thickness of your cervelas; put in the center of the mold a piece of cervelas; arrange around it slices of your lard, and so garnish the bottom of your mold with circles of lard and your pieces of cervelas; lay out around your mold your sticks of carrots and turnips, mixing them together and tightening them one against the other; press your cabbages, garnish the bottom of your mold with them, and continue to garnish the sides with them like a kind of counter wall, so to speak; leave a hollow in the middle to put your partridges in; put them in the bottom on their stomachs; fill your mold with cabbages, cutting back anything that spills over, and press them down, in order to give them a firm consistency, so that in turning out your partridges, your decoration will not be disturbed; put a cover on this mold, and keep your partridges warm in a double-boiler; strain their stock through a silk strainer; add in three skimming spoons of worked Spanish sauce...; let your sauce cook, skim it, reduce it to the consistency of a demi-glace; turn your chartreuse over on your dish, remove the paper, drain it carefully, sponge off the moisture, as as well as possible, with the corner of a cloth; sauce it with your reduction, and serve.

Take two or three cabbages; cut them into quarters; wash-them; blanche them: when done, let them cool: bind them; put them in a stewpot; moisten them with bouillon: if you have a hot coal [?] or some good stocks, use them; add in some carrots, two or three onions, including one stuck with three cloves, a garlic clove, laurel, thyme; what's more, so that your cabbage are well filled out, add in the last of your stewpot; let them simmer three or four hours;drain them on a white cloth; squeeze them to get the grease out in giving them the form of a rolling pin...
Beauvilliers, L'Art du Cuisinier (I, 275-277, 108-109)
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fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys

Magasin Pittoresque: No - 18

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.

The third issue begins with this note:

A year after our founding, a vaudeville was shown at the theatre of Varietés, under this title:

review in fifteen Tableaux

A poor bookseller and his shopboy lament the decline of the old bookselling trade, and sadly examine a pile of books in-folio and in-quarto, devoured by rats and dust. Suddenly a goddess appears, lightly dressed in leaves of gold and silver, and carrying the attributes of Mercury. It is COMPETITION, humming a couplet to the tune of Caroline:
It is competition
Which in France stimulates
Doubles success.

The old bookseller BASANE wants to drive her away like an enemy; but COMPETITION will not be discouraged, and insists on serving him despite himself.

BASANE. Eh! What do you want me to do?
COMPETITION. Something new.
BASANE. With what?
COMPETITION. With something old. Do you imagine anything today has been invented?... Do I not see there twenty copies of the Encyclopedie? It is the mine one must work. Take scissors, cut; slice, nibble; all that, remade new, and accompanied by portraits of great man or large beasts, of contemporary beauties and gothic monuments, will form the most bizarre, the most varied two-pence review: in a word, the true Magasin Pittoresque.
With this, she waves her caduceus: the theater changed and showed a store [magasin]. The walls, and even the old bookseller's smock were covered with wood engravings from our first issue.
This vaudeville was successful; it brought in the public for fifteen days. It was the signal for a rather large number of more or less impartial censures, more or less bitter epigrams, spread against us in a few periodicals and in several collections to which our appearance and our good luck had given birth.

The editor then says that the magazine has never responded to such attacks and refers to numerous other criticisms, well-summarized in this vaudeville, come down to accusing the Magasin "of not inventing, and of devoting ourselves simply to putting within reach of all and of popularizing knowledge sold for a high price in encyclopedic works." The editor takes that as a compliment. Also, to the degree that imperfections slip into the magazine, it is "often persuant to numerous difficulties brought by the imperious and avid need for variety."

I may just steal that....

To paint his last painting, he burned the last tooth in his mouth - Going downhill is easy; going downhill really fast takes a mathematician - Time for a ballet about lung cancer? - Be glad you didn't have to check Napoleon's credit card signature - The omnibus drove the carriage from Paris streets - Louis XIV coveted Chantilly - Corneille's brother-in-law was his brother, and his neighbor - A Turkish locksmith's contribution to French torture - Choreography: write the dance - 1791: the Arc de Triomphe started at the Gate of Italy, then kept moving - A tunnel was cheaper than a bridge - Lesage took twenty years to finish "Gil Blas" - Napoleon's treaty suppressed Austria - Christina of Sweden watched Academicians discuss whether to stand up or sit down - d'Eon was charmed to see Burkana a third time - 50 crowns for designing the Pont Neuf - The Paris carnival of 1799 was the first in eight years... and wild - 1754: a great year in the history of tooth decay - "Paris! Paris! City of enchantment. Your appearance changes with every generation" - The trials of a portrait painter, caught in dialogue - Some people's monograms beat other people's art - A "universal war" lasted for fifteen years - Books from the library of the House of Lords were fortuitously transferred to one of the rooms that DIDN'T burn - Jackson, destined for the clergy, enrolled at 15 - "Adanson was too excentric to found a school" - Furgole took five years off from practing law to become immortal - The Revolutionaries needed images to replace royalty on playing cards - Maistre "had not the least idea of the giant only seeing its childhood" - The hard-working Depuytren's body had a heart much bigger than normal - "Of all the declarations of war of modern times, none was more difficult to justify than than the breaking of the Treaty of Amiens" - A list of acreage of all the forests in 19th c. France - "In the eyes of a Moslem, the good doctor is he who, after checking a pulse, at once prescribes medecine..." - Montezuma had fine jewels and birds' feathers made in silver and gold - Artisans spent on a meal what they earned in a week, said the capitouls - Villamena drew favorite characters of 17th c. Rome - From 1719 to 1720, more tobacco holders were produced in France than in all the years up to then - What if steam could have shaved customers as well as it ran trains? - "It is with much regret that I die, though misery has imperiously pushed me to it." - The inventor Jacquart was threatened with death - The elder Pitt: "If we must succumb, let us succumb as men"... and fell to the ground - Anne of Austria, or her statue at least, was one survivor of the revolution - Stranded on an island, they built a cabin and covered it with sea turtle shells - "Each day the intelligent man abandons to feelingless agents some of the laborious work which tortures his body" (like climbing stairs - a great day in the history of obesity!) - Martin Guerre's shoes where size 12 (points) - "By ancient Roman custom, women were banned from the kitchen" - Even the eighteenth century had its yard sale finds - Lalande, the most skillful composer of church music under Louis XIV - San Diego's mission, founded in 1769, was the first in California (take that, L.A.!) - "A canal has been executed between Lake Erie and the Hudson River" - Signed, Christum Ferens - The war of the Polish succession just didn't get the same press - De Thou called the scaffold "the road to Paradise" - Della Maria's first opera (in 1798) relaunched "the simple and natural genre" - For Louis XIV's bedside snack: three rolls, two bottles of wine, a flask of water, a glass and a plate, plus seven or eight napkins and th ree plates - Racine to the young Duke of Maine: "Even if no place was free, there is no academician who would not be delighted to die to make one" - Once, a lame duck was an investor who could not be forced to pay - From 1614 to 1787, the States General had not been called; then they got some nice medals to wear - Gros, painter of large paintings, was forced by the Revolution to paint miniatures - Caught in a bar fight, Hogarth sketched it - The little Mozart told the young Marie-Antoinette that she was good and he wanted to marry her - The real name of Be-dsing (Beijing) was "Chun-Thian-Fu": city of the first rank (Fu), obedient to Heaven

1 - Painting by David Tellier "The knifesharpener"
2 - Brachystochrone
3 - The tobacco ballet in Lisbon
16 - carriages
17 - Chantilly
27 - Feuillet's choreographic notation
33 - Arc de Triomphe
46 - The treaty of Presbourg
62 - history of the Pont Neuf
63 - Masks and masquerades
67 - extraction of sugar
75 - a portrait painter's studio
82 - War of the Spanish Succession
146 - playing cards for the French Republic
155 - Washington DC: Joseph de Maistre and Miss Wright
151 - Hogarth: Ridiculous Perspective
190 - The peace of Amiens
211 - Gold and silver smithing
217 - Hogarth: the poor poet
240 - The tobacco holders of 1719-1720
279 - Island of sand in the Indian sea (discovered 1712)
303 - The monks' book sale (1755)
307 - California missions (per Kotzebue)
322 - Wars of succession
326 - The execution of Cinq-Mars and de Thou
354 - A 14-year-old candidate for the Academy
361 - Legislative assemblies from 1789 to 1830

3 - Napoleon's signature
19 - Hogarth: Industry and laziness
23 - Corneille
43 - Gil Blas
46 - visit of Christina of Sweden to the Academy Francaise
50 - traveler Baron de Burkana
142 - Adanson the Naturalist
146 - Jean-Baptiste Furgole, jurist
157 - doctor Guillaume Depuytren
232 - artist Villamena
256 - loom inventor Jacquart
257 - death of William Pitt, Count of Chatham
269 - Anne of Austria and the pump of the Samaritaine
306 - musician Michel-Richard de Lalande
327 - dramatic composer Della Maria
345 - Louis XIV goes to bed
371 - painter Antoine-Jean Gros
374 - Kings of France since Hugues Capet
377 - Hogarth
392 - Mozart's house

26 - The origin of the poire d'angoisse ("the pear of anguish")
36 - tunnel under the Thames
72 - the new Place de la Bourse
78 - monograms of famous artists
83 - The burning of the English parliament
86 - General Jackson, President of the United States
194 - Forests in France
198 - Current (19th c.) state of medecine in Turkey
228 - law against going to the tavern
249 - Grandville - Six beards in three seconds
250 - diary of a German starving himself to death (1812)
284 - machine to replace stairs in a factory (i.e., an elevator)
290 - The false Martin Guerre
300 - Roman public and private kitchens
314 - solemn inauguration of a canal in New York
316 - Christopher Columbus' signature
359 - Bulls, bears and lame ducks in the stock market
400 - Peking (Beijing) in the 19th century

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End quote

"If I had a Voltaire in my States, I would have him hung."

Muktar, son of Ali, pacha of Janina
(quoted in the Magasin Pittoresque No 3 (312))

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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