Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

The Characters of Balzac's 'La Comédie Humaine': Fact or Fiction?

ESPARD (Camille, Vicomte d’), second son of Marquis d’Espard; born in 1815; pursued his studies at the college of Henri IV., in company with his elder brother, the Comte Clement de Nègrepelisse. He studied rhetoric in 1828. [The Commission in Lunacy.]

ESPARD (Chevalier d’), brother of Marquis d’Espard, whom he wished to see interdicted, in order that he might be made curator. His face was thin as a knife-blade, and he was frigid and severe. Judge Popinot said he reminded him somewhat of Cain. He was one of the deepest personages to be found in the Marquise d’Espard’s drawing-room, and was the political half of that woman. [The Commission in Lunacy. Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life. The Secrets of a Princess.]

ESPARD (Jeanne-Clementine-Athenais de Blamont-Chauvry, Marquise d’), born in 1795; wife of Marquis d’Espard; of one of the most illustrious houses of Faubourg Saint-Germain. Deserted by her husband in 1816, she was at the age of twenty-two mistress of herself and of her fortune, an income of twenty-six thousand francs. At first she lived in seclusion; then in 1820 she appeared at court, gave some receptions at her own home, and did not long delay about becoming a society woman. Cold, vain and coquettish she knew neither love nor hatred; her indifference for all that did not directly concern her was profound. She never showed emotion. She had certain scientific formulas for preserving her beauty. She never wrote but spoke instead, believing that two words from a woman were sufficient to kill three men. More than once she made epigrams to peers or deputies which the courts of Europe treasured. In 1828 she still passed with the men for youthful. Mme. d’Espard lived at number 104 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. [The Commission in Lunacy.] She was a magnificent Celimene. She displayed such prudence and severity on her separation from her husband that society was at a loss to account for this disagreement. She was surrounded by her relatives, the Navarreins, the Blamont-Chauvrys and the Lenoncourts; ladies of the highest social position claimed her acquaintance. She was a cousin of Mme. de Bargeton, who was rehabilitated by her on her arrival from Angouleme in 1821, and whom she introduced into Paris, showing her all the secrets of elegant life and taking her away from Lucien de Rubempre. Later, when the “Distinguished Provincial” had won his way into high society, she, at the instance of Mme. de Montcornet, enlisted him on the Royalist side. [A Distinguished Provincial at Paris.]



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