Powerful advocates brought Alexandrine’s pleas to the ear of the pope, and in November 1712, her vows were formally annulled. It was the liberation of Mme de Tencin. From convent to court, and from bank to boudoir, she was always prone to argue…
At last she was free. But she had no means of existence other than her sister’s bounty and no status in a society that regarded her past as scandalous. Her first business, no doubt, was to make up the arrears of pleasure that she thought to be her due. In these last years of the aged Louis XIV and in the Regency that followed in 1715, a hey-day of cynical license, she found no lack of companions. Perhaps she briefly shared the so-called favors of the regent, Phillipe d’Orleans; he is said to have dismissed her with the remark that he didn’t like tarts who tried to talk business in bed. She was certainly the mistress of the all-powerful Abbe Dubois, first minister of state, who was willing to talk business anywhere. To his bed Alexandrine brought secrets learned in those of Lord Bolingbroke and others. For these reports she was properly recompensed.
She had, at the same time, an amant de couer., the Chevalier Destouches, lieutenant general of artillery, a man of wit and ability. To her great annoyance, he got her with child. On November 17, 1717, during an absence of her lover on a foreign mission, she was brought to bed of a son. Only hours later, by night, she sent forth a manservant to dispose of the inconvenient baby. He made his way to the cathedral of Notre Dame, laid his burden on the chilly steps of an adjoining baptismal chapel called Saint-Jean-le-Rond, and withdrew to watch. A woman appeared and found the wailing child;after some hesitation, she carried him to the Enfants-Trouves, a foundling hospital.
Six weeks later,Destouches returned from abroad. He sought and readily identified his child, who had been named Jean Le Rond. The baby was nearly dead of malnutrition. Destouches took him in his carriage and set off on a hunt for a wet nurse. He discovered one MMe Rousseau, the honest wife of an honest glazier. In her household the boy grew up, soon showing marks of rare brilliance. Destouches watched over him with affectonate pride. Once,and only once, he persuaded Mme de Tencin to visit their offspring. “Admit, Madame,” he said, “that it would have been too bad if this charming child had been abandoned.” The mother rose haughtily, saying:”Let us go. I see that this is no place for me.”
For fifty years Jean Le Rond lived in the house of his beloved foster mother. French culture has reason to be grateful to Mme Rousseau, for Jean Le Rond, under the adopted name d’Alembert was a great scientist, mathematician,philosopher, and editor of the momentous Encyclopedie.
(see link at end)….On MMe de Tencin’s novel Comminage:The story of the count of Comminge and Adelaida represents a tragic background situation which develops into a protest against familial order: both the count’s and Adelaida’s parents firmly use their authority to control their lives and subject them to their will. Their two mothers in particular, although characterized through typical eighteenth-century traits of sensibility—delicacy, virtue, compassion—hypocritically participate in taming their son’s and daughter’s insubordination.
The love between the couple, described through the conventional mechanisms of waiting, hope, and temptation, with very few allusions to physical love—the only “audacious” scene in the novel occurs when the count takes Adelaida’s hand—is only incidental to the main theme of the short tale, that is Comminge’s revolt against familial interests and social conventions. The characters of the young count and his lover Adelaida thus must be seen as the two sides of the same coin: on the one hand, Comminge’s impulsiveness and passion aim at demonstrating that his compliancy with the temptation of romantic musings subtends the risk of allowing sensibility to dominate over sense.
On the other hand, Adelaida’s rationality and lack of sensibility portray her indir
defense of the rules and behaviour of her aristocratic status. Both characters become victims of their own passion as well as of the circumstances that surround them: in the end, there is no feasible solution to their situation, no balance between rationalism and passion. Read More:http://www.c-s-p.org/flyers/978-1-4438-2868-0-sample.pdf