Last time I was in France, I visited Autun, home of Talleyrand (and a very pretty town).
So I started reading about him a bit. One of the most famous descriptions of him was Napoleon’s dismissal of him as “a silk stocking filled with shit.” Ouch.
But through the mists of time I seem to remember a similar slur that I thought was about Talleyrand – not sure whether a history professor, or a friend, or who, but I seem to recall someone telling me that one of Talleyrand’s contemporaries said: “He would have traded his soul for a pile of shit, and he would have been right to do so.” Double ouch. Only problem is, I can’t find that quote on Google or elsewhere.
Did someone say this about Talleyrand? Or, about some other historical figure?