Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Barbeu-Dubourg, [before 11 February 1778]

From Barbeu-Dubourg

AL: American Philosophical Society

[Before February 11, 1778]

Monsieur franklin est prié de se souvenir qu’il a promis d’aller diner mercredi 11. fevr. chez les Princesses Sapieha et Sangusko qui attendent ce jour avec une impatience singulière, et qui ne le laisseront point endormir comme Alain Chartier pour le faire jouir des privileges du mois de janvier. Ces Dames logent rue neuve des Petits champs vis avis la rue de Louis le Grand, et n’ont point d’officiers a lui proposer.4

Le commissionaire5 a l’honneur de lui souhaiter le bonjour.

Addressed: A Monsieur / Monsieur Le Dr. franklin / A Passy

Notation: Dubourg

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4In other words, he would not be pestered about commission-seekers. The Princess Sapieha was the wife of Alexandre, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania, and her daughter Princess Sanguszko the wife of Janusz-Hieronym, Palatine of Volhynia. The two women had left Warsaw the previous spring to summer in Paris (Jour. de Paris, May 27, 1777, where the husbands are mentioned) and apparently stayed on. Alain Chartier was a 15th-century poet, chronicler, and moralist; according to tradition Margaret of Scotland, the Dauphin’s wife, found him asleep and kissed his mouth for the golden words that it uttered. The “privileges du mois de janvier,” unless they were some kissing liberties at New Year’s with which we are unfamiliar, probably referred to an actual episode: a while ago BF attended a ball, Bachaumont reported on Feb. 25, where many young and lovely ladies embraced him in succession, “malgré ses lunettes qu’il porte toujours sur le nez.” Mémoires secrets, XI, 121. BF in fact forgot the Princesses’ party; see Dubourg’s note below, Feb. 12.

5In the sense of messenger, we assume, meaning that he brought the letter himself.

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