The ability to want was in short supply in nineteenth-century France, according to Le Dernier Stendhal, where the dominant passion was, he claimed, vanity and where people were therefore ruled by habit for fear of marking themselves out as different from others and thus ridiculous. As befits her apparent origin in the sighting of a woman observed in transit, whether on a steamer or, more fleetingly, as she walks down a street, the character of Lamiel was associated in Stendhal's various plans with pure, spontaneous be coming, pure potential. The heroine's movements are equally precipitous in 'Lamiel II', where she eludes even Sansfin's all-knowing eye when, having recovered from her apparent illness, she leaves home unexpectedly for the duchess's castle. Numerous critics have discussed Lamiel's debt to strong-willed, self-determining eighteenth-century literary heroines, most notably Marivaux's Marianne, Laclos's Mme de Merteuil, and Sade's Juliette.