The young boy peeked through the heavy drapes and saw his uncle, as he has seen him uncountable times. The woman lay on the bed. She was naked, but his uncle had not taken off his habit. They kissed, they laughed, and did the same thing as always. The young Marquis, although he was not yet 10, felt it was false. He knew he could never believe in the righteousness of any abbot he would ever encounter.
Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, shortly Marquis de Sade, was born a son of a noble family and spent the first years of his life in Hôtel de Condé, which was the main Paris seat of the princes of Condé. From age five to fourteen, he lived with his uncle, who was an abbot. The dark dungeons of the abbey in Ébrueil probably inspired him for the rooms in the books Justine and Juliette. At very young age, De Sade learned that men of the cloth are certainly not necessarily free of sin, or, more detailed, of sexual escapades. His uncle had a mistress living in the abbey, and it is likely he also had a sexual relationship with his mistress’s daughter. This greatly affected the young Marquis in his opinion of the church. He hated and condemned its hypocrisy, and would express this in many of his writings.
He started a military education after four years of boarding school and then fought in the Seven Year’s War. When he was dismissed from his military duties, he spent lots of money on gaming and many hours in so-called petite maisons, which were private brothels kept by noblemen in the 18th century. His reputation was that of a wild, young boy without any moral. His father hoped that a marriage would tame the Marquis, and thus a marriage with Renée-Pélagie de Montrueil was arranged.
A couple of months after his marriage in 1763, the marquis was first imprisoned for several sexual escapades. He was being released again after two weeks, but he did not change his habits in the least. The young Marquis was in his early twenties and didn't even think of settling. Instead, he celebrated life and his self-declared freedom. He owned several apartments, in which he enjoyed the company of other women, and he often left home to enjoy girls in other parts of the country. In fact, he would spend more nights outside the house than with his wife.
Windmills, wooden shoes and tulips: those are the most popular Dutch trademarks. But tulips don't even grow in the Netherlands originally: they were brought to the country in the late 16th century from the Ottoman Empire (roughly the area that is now Turkey). It was discovered that they could grow in the Low Countries very well, even despite the harsh climate. In the first half of the 17th century, they grew immensely popular because of their intensely colored petals, incomparable to any other plant growing in the Netherlands.
The popularity of tulip bulbs soon turned into a frenzy. Traders were willing to pay prices that exceeded the value of the most expensive canal house in Amsterdam for a single bulb (about 10.000 guilders). To compare: the average income of a Dutchman was about 150 guilders.
The tulip bubble reached her height in the winter of 1636-1637 and collapsed in February 1637, when a trader suddenly could not sell his goods. In the days that followed, the prices descended drastically: the tulip mania was over.