1 February 1790: women’s psychology, Necker’s psychology, & the bishop’s career

Monday… — This Morning the Count de Luxembourg comes to breakfast with me. As I am very busy I cut the Conversation short and begin to write. He leaves me, lamenting always that he is not old enough to be in Administration where with the Aid of my Councils he could do Wonders. He will know better by and bye. I write till three and then go to the Palais royal to dine. After Dinner we discuss a Question on which I deliver a Sentiment somewhat extraordinary in this extraordinary Country, viz that a Woman of Sense and Learning is more easily seduced than another, among other Reasons because having perhaps a higher Sense of Duty she feels a Pleasure proportionately greater in the Breach. That the Remorse to be sure is greater, but that this mingled Emotion of Delight and Regret leads her on farther and faster than another could go. The Dutchess denies this Position, but in my Elucidations I give some Traits of female Sentiment so true that an old Lady present declares my Opinion to be abominable but fears it is just. I cannot stay to finish the Discussion but as soon as my Carriage is announced I step into it and go to Mr. Necker’s. I tell him briefly the Conduct of the Houses in Holland and add that I must go thither before I can deal farther with him. He seems to be much disappointed. I tell him that I will do every Thing in my Power to conclude the Affair agreably to his Wishes. That it is possible the United States may employ me, and in that Case I shall from Motives of Delicacy decline all farther Dealing with him, but in such Case I will cause the Thing to be done by others. He seems better pleased. He is one of those Men whose Opinions one must guess at. From Madame’s Manner I think I can perceive that my Neglect of this House for some Time past has not been useful. Perhaps there are other Reasons. There are Troubles in Brittanny and the Count de Thiare tells me that the Commotions arise from the Tier[s] (i.e.) from some Citizens disguised as Peasants &c., &c. Evidently it is a Concert with the Members of the Assemblée. (…) Go from hence Home and write. At nine carry my Letters to the Arsenal. (…) Go hence to the Louvre and sup. My friend [Mme de Flahaut] tells me that the Queen has told Vicq d’Azyr she has heard that the bishop [d’Autun] is a Man of great Abilities and great Ambition and that it is worth while to have such Men. Vicq d’Azyr said he was well assured from one of his most intimate friends that her Majesty would never have Cause to complain of him. The Queen smiled and said she knew who that friend was, to which the Phisician replied: ‘Then your Majesty will spare me the Indiscretion of mentioning it.’ He gave her the Note I had written and which my friend had copied for the Purpose. The Queen said that so long as Mr. Necker continues in Office she will not interfere in Affairs at all. After our Politics and our Supper we discuss another Subject which requires but little Understanding or Information and then I return Home. This Day the Weather has been a little colder but very pleasant.

A diary of the French revolution, by Gouverneur Morris, 1752-1816. Ed. by Beatrix Cary Davenport. Vol. 1 (Boston, 1939), p. 401-403.

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