Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Familiar Menage à Trois!

Lionne
Although it was widely accepted at court that both men and women had numerous affairs outside of marriage, it was also essential to some wives to keep a low profile with their liaisons. At this time a husband had not only a right to his wife's fortune and estates he also had the right to punish her for adultery if he saw fit; naturally, this was not the case the other way around. The most popular form of punishment was sending a wife to a convent where - if her husband wished it - she might very well spent the rest of her life.

The wife of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lionne, was one of those wives who were sent to a convent although not permanently. The incident that sparked this severe punishment was quite enough to scandalize even the court at Versailles. Lionne (who himself had had several affairs) returned home to find his wife in bed with the Comte de Saulx which would not have been considered that bad had it not been because Lionne's daughter was also there!
Madame de Sévigné claimed that although Lionne himself was used to his wife's affairs, he thought it too much that his son-in-law should be subjected to the same treatment.

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