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GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL
friend and correspondent of Leibnitz, who admired her. She had great intellectual gifts, spoke seven languages, read widely, and had a natural taste for the beautiful. "No one had greater gifts," said Madame her niece, Michel de Montaigne. With great lucidity of thought, decidedly outspoken, she professed an epicurean materialism of great superiority and intelligence. Her husband valued her little, but he was brilliant and ostentatious. They were the most polished and distinguished couple in Germany at the Court of Hanover. Both loved music, but Ernest Augustus seems never to have dreamt that it existed anywhere outside of Italy, and he might almost as well have been called the "Duke of Venice" as the Duke of Hanover, for he was constantly in Venice, and never wished to leave it for long.
- Madame Arvède Barine has given an amusing portrait of her, although a little severe, in her charming studies on Madame Mère du Regent, 1909 (Hachette). See particularly the Memoirs of the Duchess Sophia, written by the same author in French.
- Thus a French traveller, the Abbé Tolland, in 1702, expresses it.
- Created Duke in 1680, he left the same year for Venice. He returned there at the end of 1684, and remained there until about August, 1685. He returned three months later, in December, and only left it in September, 1686. He lived at the palace Foscarini, with a numerous following, his ministers, his poets, his musicians, his chapel. He spent enormous sums. He gave fêtes to the Venetians, and took boxes by the year in five theatres in Venice. In return he lent his subjects as soldiers to Venice; and his son, Maximilian, was a General in the Republic. When the Grand Marshal of the Court of Hanover wrote to the Prince of the discontent of his people, Ernest Augustus answered: "I very much wish that Monsieur the Grand Marshal would come here, then he would no longer write so often to me about coming home. M. the Grand Marshal can have no idea how amusing it is here, and if he only came once he would never want to return to Germany."