Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"Infatuated with herself, always classically draped, her magnificent hair her only coiffure, she was strange in her personality and her ways. She would appear at gatherings like a goddess descending from the clouds. At her request, her husband would lead her to a quiet corner of the room where she would allow people to admire her as if she were a shrine; absent amid the crowd, she would meet with glacial calm the indiscreet stares of her admirers. She almost never spoke to women. A few- a very few- men were favored with a smile, a word, or a greeting. Like a great singer who has just performed in an unfamiliar world, she would wait, patient and indifferent, for her hosts to pay their compliments. But as soon as the Emperor or the Empress approached her, her face would be transformed; her mouth until that moment disdainful, would part to show her admirable teeth, her eyes would shine betraying her triumph, her gratified vanity; she seemed to be saying to all: I am not here for you. I am of a different essence. I know only the sovereign and his court."
-General Fleury, on the legendary narcissist the Countess de Castiglione

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