Difficult Beauty

“It is true,” wrote Madame Sevigné, “that men have certain privileges with regard to ugliness, but it is also true that Monsieur Pellisson abused those.” There is, however, a beautiful story often told about Paul Pellisson. Beginning 1661 this unfortunate secretary of Nicolas Fouquet happened to be in residence at la Bastille. Among all the forms of amusement available, Paul favored poetry, music and catching of flies. His poetic work he sent to Madame Scudéry, his music was destined for the ears of the passerby outside the prison walls, and the flies were fed to a spider. They say that over a course of years an amicable relationship developed between Pellisson and the arachnid. The latter would even come out to sit on Paul’s lap whenever he played flute. Given that spiders do not have ears, and for the lack of any other reasonable hypothesis to explain the rare popularity of Monsieur Pellisson with the animal, I am forced to challenge Madame Sevigné’s opinion.

This entry was posted in Court, Courtiers, Fouquet, Madam Sevigne, Nicolas Fouquet, Versailles. Bookmark the permalink.

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