“But there is not a single person employed in any way at the court, in Paris, or in the provinces, who is not acquainted with some woman through whose hands pass all the favors and sometimes all the wrongs which he may wish done. These women are all in each other’s secrets, and form a sort of republic, the members of which are always busy aiding and serving each other; it is like a state within a state; and anyone at court, in Paris, or in the provinces who sees the activity of the ministers, the magistrates, and the prelates, if he does not know the women who govern them, is like a man who sees a machine at work, but who is ignorant of the springs that move it.”

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