In a letter to Voltaire dated 27 January 1774, Jean Benjamin de La Borde reported that his friend the duc de Sully had surprised his father, the duc de Béthune, in flagrante delicto with a lackey. This article analyzes the narrative and the incident in the context of literary and archival evidence about sexual relations between noblemen and workingmen in eighteenth-century Paris. Nobles who sought and had sex with men, more often in private than in public spaces, have not been studied as a group. As this case study demonstrates, their rank both sheltered then from arrest and exposed them to disgrace.

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