About Him: Benjamin Franklin | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: About Him: Benjamin Franklin

November 09, 2009

About Him: Benjamin Franklin

While Mr Franklin visited Paris in March of 1778, there were many celebrations in his honour.  But not everyone was impressed with the man.  At a supper, Madame de Créquy found herself appalled with the presentation and behavior of Mr. Franklin.  The first thing that caught her eye was his long hair! She goes on to describe him:

"'like a diocesan of Quimper,' brown coat, brown vest, brown breeches 'and hands of the same colour;' a linen cravat; but most remarkable, of all his way of eating fresh eggs.

He took five or six eggs, broke them into a goblet, put butter, salt, pepper, and mustard; and then 'nourished himself with little spoonfuls of this joli ragoût philadelphique.' He bit his asparagus and took a knife to his melon."

Her final assessment was that he was an unpleasant savage!  Mdm de Créquy clearly did not approve of breeches in etiquette, and etiquette at the dinner table was most important.


  1. With mustard? Ew, Franklin!
    I guess she was in the minority for not being charmed by his savage ways. I know he was able to use it to his advantage with the other French ladies. Who could resist such a dangerous mountain man! *swoon*

  2. Madame gives the appearance of smelling something bad. Perhaps it is herself. I'll wager the conversation over eggs would be far more interesting with Ben than Madame. There's a reason my ancestors left France in the 18th century... perhaps the company had something to do with it.

  3. Ben treated his son deplorably later in life and I think would have been a bit of an ass. Still, what harm in cutting melon and chomping asparagus?

  4. Did he cook the eggs, I wonder? Mustard doesn't sound so bad mixed in with eggs, since it was probably ground mustard. Since I'm a campfollwer in the Philadelphia area, I might try this on the men! Provided the eggs are cooked....

  5. A cocktail of raw eggs must be a Philadelphia thing. Remember Rocky Balboa's breakfast of champions? :)