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e creator of that new literature which stood in direct and bold opposition to the prevailing taste, inasmuch as she received at her house, entertained and cherished, those who were really its originators and supporters. This lady could not boast of the morality of her early years, nor of her respect even for common propriety. She is not only notorious for having exposed, when a child, the celebrated D'Alembert, who was her natural son, and for regarding with indifference his being brought up by the wife of a common glazier as her own son; but stories still worse than even these are told of her. She enriched herself, as many others did, in the time of Law's scheme, by no very creditable means; and fell under such a serious suspicion of having been privy to the death of one of those who had carried on an intrigue with her, that she was imprisoned and involved in a criminal prosecution, from which she escaped, not through her own innocence, but by means of the powerful influence of her distinguished relations and friends. All this did not prevent Pope Benedict XIV., who, as Cardinal Lambertini, had been often at her house, as a member of the society of men of talents who met there, from carrying on a continual intercourse with her by letter; he also sent her his picture as a testimony of kind remembrance. This lady succeeded in procuring for her brother the dignity of a cardinal, and through him had great weight with Fleury, with the court, and with the city in general; she is also known as an authoress. As we are not writing a history of literature properly speaking, we pass by her novels in silence, with this remark only, that people are accustomed to place the 'Comte de Comminges,' written by Madame de Tencin, on the same footing with the 'Princess de Cleve,' by Madame de Lafayette. The society in the house of Madame de Tencin consisted of well-known men of learning, and some younger men of distinguished name and family; she united, in later years, a certain amiability with her care for the entertainment and recreation of those whom she had once received into her house. This society, after the death of De Tencin, assembled in the house of Geoffrin. It appears, however, that Madame de Tencin, as well as the whole fashionable world to which she belonged, could never altogether disavow their contempt for science, if indeed it be true, that she was accustomed to call her society by the indecent by-name of her menagerie.
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