The Duc de Saint-Simon (1675 – 1755), the greatest gossip of the age, pauses in his voluminous memoirs of the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV to describe his friend the Regent, Philippe II d’Orléans, and to praise a lady of the court:
“He would never content himself with one mistress. He needed a variety in order to stimulate his taste. I had no more intercourse with them than with his roués. He never spoke of them to me, nor I to him. I scarcely ever knew anything of their adventures. His roués and valets were always eager to present fresh mistresses to him, from which he generally selected one. Amongst these was Madame de Sabran, who had married a man of high rank, but without wealth or merit, in order to be at liberty. There never was a woman so beautiful as she, or of a beauty more regular, more agreeable, more touching, or of a grander or nobler bearing, and yet without affectation. Her air and her manners were simple and natural, making you think she was ignorant of her beauty and of her figure (this last the finest in the world), and when it pleased her she was deceitfully modest. With much intellect she was insinuating, merry, overflowing, dissipated, not bad-hearted, charming, especially at table. In a word, she was all M. le Duc d’Orleans wanted, and soon became his mistress without prejudice to the rest.”
“A famous Regency period beauty Madame de Sabran [1693 – 1768] was considered to be one of the most clever and fascinating Frenchwomen of her generation. Her liaison with Orleans lasted virtually until his death.” Women of History
Footnote: Saint-Simon is thought to be the first writer to have used the term ‘intellectual’ as a noun.