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ARTICLES

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN

THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.

MADAME D'EPINAY. (E. REVIEW, 1818.)

Mémoires et Correspondance de Madame D'Epinay. 3 vols. .

8vo. Paris, 1818.

THERE used to be in Paris, under the ancient régime, a few women of brilliant talents, who violated all the common duties of life, and gave very pleasant little suppers. Among these supped and sinned Madame d'Epinay

the friend and companion of Rousseau, Diderot, Grimm, Holbach, and many other literary persons of distinction of that period. Her principal lover was Grimm; with whom was deposited, written in feigned names, the history of her life. Grimm died — his secretary sold the history—the feigned names have been exchanged for the real ones --and her works now appear abridged in three volumes octavo.

Madame d'Epinay, though far from an immaculate character, has something to say in palliation of her irregularities.

Her husband behaved abominably; and alienated, by a series of the most brutal injuries, an attachment which seems to have been very ardent and sincere, and which, with better treatment, would probably have been lasting. For, in all her aberrations, Madame d'Epinay seems to have had a tendency to be constant. Though extremely young when separated from her husband, she indulged herself with but two lovers for the rest of her life;—to the first of whom she

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seems to have been perfectly faithful, till he left her at the end of ten or twelve years; - and to Grimm, by whom he was succeeded, she appears to have given no rival till the day of her death. The account of the life she led, both with her husband and her lovers, brings upon the scene a great variety of French characters, and lays open very completely the interior of French life and

But there are some letters and passages which ought not to have been published; which a sense of common decency and morality ought to have suppressed; and which, we feel assured, would never have seen the light in this country.

A French woman scems almost always to have wanted the flavour of prohibition, as a necessary condiment to human life. The provided husband was rejected, and the forbidden husband introduced in ambiguous light, through posterns and secret partitions. It was not the union to one man that was objected to — for they dedicated themselves with a constancy which the most household and parturient woman in England could not exceed; -- but the thing wanted was the wrong man, the gentleman without the ring - the master unsworn to at the altar -- the person unconsecrated by priests —

• Oh ! let me taste thee unexcis'd by kings.'

The following strikes us as a very lively picture of the ruin and extravagance of a fashionable house in a great metropolis.

• M. d'Epinay a complété son domestique. Il a trois laquais, et moi deux; je n'en ai pas voulu davantage. Il a un valet de chambre; et il vouloit aussi que je prisse une seconde femme ; mais, comme je n'en ai que faire, j'ai tenu bon. Enfin les officiers, les femmes, les valets se montent au nombre de seize. Quoique la vie que je mène soit assez uniforme, j'espère n'être pas obligée d'en changer. Celle de M. d'Epinay est différente. Lorsqu'il est levé, son valet de chambre se met en devoir de l'accommoder. Deux laquais sont debout à attendre les ordres. Le premier secrétaire vient avec l'intention de lui rendre compte des lettres qu'il a reçues de son département, et qu'il est chargé d'ouvrir ; il doit lire les réponses et les faire signer; mais il est

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A very prominent perso EMTE TE SE Madame d'Epinas, is Mabisado CIEETMEL . great French respectability, we are il 21+ is society; and, as we are passie Frane E. V: shall make no apology to the serious parts in readers, for inserting this sketch of beras wil racter by her own hand.

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seems to have been perfectly faithful, till he left her at the end of ten or twelve years ; — and to Grimm, by whom he was succeeded, she appears to have given no rival till the day of her death. The account of the life she led, both with her husband and her lovers, brings upon the scene a great variety of French characters, and lays open very completely the interior of French life and manners.

But there are some letters and passages which ought not to have been published; which a sense of common decency and morality ought to have suppressed; and which, we feel assured, would never have seen the light in this country.

A French woman seems almost always to have wanted the flavour of prohibition, as a necessary condiment to human life. The provided husband was rejected, and the forbidden husband introduced in ambiguous light, through posterns and secret partitions. It was not the union to one man that was objected to — for they dedicated themselves with a constancy which the most household and parturient woman in England could not exceed; -- but the thing wanted was the wrong man, the gentleman without the ring -- the master unsworn to at the altar—the person unconsecrated by priests

Oh ! let me taste thee unexcis'd by kings.'

The following strikes us as a very lively picture of the ruin and extravagance of a fashionable house in a great metropolis.

• M. d'Epinay a complété son domestique. Il a trois laquais, et moi deux ; je n'en ai pas voulu davantage. Il a un valet de chambre; et il vouloit aussi que je prisse une seconde femme; mais, comme je n'en ai que faire, j'ai tenu bon. Enfin les officiers, les femmes, les valets se montent au nombre de seize. Quoique la vie que je mène soit assez uniforme, j'espère n'être pas obligée d'en changer. Celle de M. d'Epinay est différente. Lorsqu'il est levé, son valet de chambre se met en devoir de l'accommoder. Deux laquais sont debout à attendre les ordres. Le premier secrétaire vient avec l'intention de lui rendre compte des lettres qu'il a reçues de son département, et qu'il est chargé d'ouvrir ; il doit lire les réponses et les faire signer; mais il est

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