‘Well, there you are! There you are, then?’


‘The celebrated David Hume, the great historian of England, who is known and esteemed for his writings, has not so much talent for [parlour games] as all our pretty women had settled that he had. . . . He had been cast for the part of a sultan sitting between two slaves, and employing all his eloquence to win their love. Finding them inexorable, he had to try to find out the reason of their resistance. He was placed upon a sofa between the two prettiest women in Paris; he looked at them fixedly, smote the pit of his stomach and his knees several times, and could find nothing to say but, “Well, young ladies; well, there you are then! Well, there you are! There you are, then?” He kept on saying this for a quarter of an hour, without being able to think of anything else. At last one of the young ladies got up and said impatiently: “Ah! I suspected as much; this man is good for nothing except to eat veal!” Since then he has been banished to the role of spectator, but iis none the less feted and flattered. . . . All the pretty women have taken possession of him; he goes to all the smart suppers, and no feast in complete without him. . . .’

Mémoires et Correspondance de Mme d’Épinay (Paris 1818), as recorded in Ernest Campbell Mossner’s The Life of David Hume