5 NOVEMBER 1927, Page 21

The ladies of fashion and intellect, as depicted for us

by Madame Therese Louis Latour in her new book, Princesses, Ladies, and Salonniires of the Reign of Louis XV. (Kegan Paul, 15s.), fascinate, amuse, and repel us by turns, but they do not touch our hearts. We see Marie Leszczinska, the daughter of an exiled king, brought up in poverty, arriving in Paris to be married to Louis XV. She is met by a procession of courtiers, bringing with them the whole of the royal gold plate. We see her rgain, a sad and strait-laced woman, silent in a chattering crowd, who take from the king a tone of contempt. Her children are parted from her. She eats the bread of sorrow from a golden dish. The reader blames himself that he, like the others, can feel so little pity, and turns with relief to Madame Geoffroi in her Salon, where she entertains him among the " Encyclopedistes." A beautiful and discreet woman, wholly governed by reason, and perfectly true to her creedless conclusions, she delighted her acquaintance by her wit, helped her friends while her help could avail them, and deserted them on principle when their fortunes were past recovery. In the end she reaped as she sowed, and the reader draws with satisfaction a sour moral

from her story. * * * *