Franklin flirting in France

Quotes from Edmund S. Morgan, Benjamin Franklin (Yale Nota Bene)

p. 246-247 ‘Franklin liked to flirt, and here were ladies who enjoyed it as much as he did were seasoned practitioners of the art. They did not want avuncular advice like Polly Stevenson or Georgianna Shipley or Katy Greene. Instead, they piled him with extravagant declarations of love and affection, addressing him as mon cher Papa. He responded in kind, insisting as eloquently as he could in an unfamiliar language that his own love for them was not just fatherly.’

p. 247 ‘Franklin was careful to spice this professions of devotion with witty explanations that love could be infinitely divided without diminishing, just as “the sweet Sounds of the Forte Piano produc’d by your exquisite skill” could be heard by twenty people “without lessening that which you kindly intend for me.” Since she never allowed him more than kisses, there could be no lessening of his love for her if he gave some to twenty other “jolies femmes”. And so he doubtless did.’


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