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Archive History Nonfiction

Women in Men’s Guise

By O.P. Gilbert, 1932

In a former work, “Men in Women’s Guise,” we dealt with some curious examples of the human species: the Abbé de Choisy, the Abbé d’Entraignes, Philippe d’Orléans, the Chevalier d’Eon, Savalette de Lange, and many others. Of those strange personalities, we propose to select two to serve as a kind of introduction to the present volume, viz.: the Abbé de Choisy and the Chevalier d’Eon. The Abbé de Choisy was brought up as a girl; when he was eighteen, he had not yet donned his first doublet. On the other hand, he attired himself bewitchingly in charming dresses, was an adept at the broidery-frame, thoroughly versed in the arts of coquetry and in all the airs and graces affected by the fine ladies of his century, to wit the seventeenth. At twenty, twenty-five, aye, and even thirty, this alleged young woman found the attire of her supposed sex so much to her taste that she could not bring herself to quit it, and was in the seventh heaven when anyone called her ” Madame.” She had herself entered under a fresh name on the civil register, and was known, first as ” Madame de Sancy” and subsequently as the ” Comtesse des Barres.” The deception was, apparently, so perfect that everyone took the Abbé for a girl.

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