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Fearing, Kenneth (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXIII, Number III (December 1923)

Sapper, Herbert D.
The marquis and marquise de Talmont,   p. 18

Page 18

The Marquis and Marquise de Talmont
Herbert D. Sapper.
The Marquise de Talmot was, as everybody
knew, one of the favorites of Marie Antoinette.
Coming from an old, aristocratic family, she had
lived in Paris since her earliest childhood, breath-
ing the air of the Court and of Versailles, living
the way everybody lived there, easy-going, hap-
pily enjoying life as much as life can possibly be
enjoyed. When she was fifteen years old, she
had her first love-affair, a touching little affair,
since he had been just a common little nobleman.
The poor fellow, desperate over the fact that he
never could marry this beautiful child, and fright-
ened by the threats of her family, and disconso-
late over the fact that he never even could live
with this bewitching little creature, quite unex-
pectedly committed suicide; whereupon our dear
little Marquise decided to die too, and really had
to be watched very carefully for over a year.
Later on, of course, she learned to control herself
better, and never again did she take a love-affair
as seriously as this her first one. She got accus-
tomed to breaking the vows that she gave and
never worried about those of her gentlemen
The little Marquise de Talmot could control
herself marvelously well later on. It was she
who, the day after the death of one of her lovers,
whom the king had ordered to be put aside be-
cause he suspected him to be one of the princi-
pal characters in some kind of conspiracy, seemed
the happiest, friendliest, and sprightliest of the
whole crowd of courtiers, just to show openly
that she had absolutely no part in it.
The indifference with which she received the
publication of her friend's death, proved her to
be innocent; she knew also how to kill all suspi-
cion, so that many of Louis' friends began to be-
lieve that the culprit never had been her friend.
Everybody knew that she was frightfully tem-
peramental and easily moved to tears and laugh-
ter, and nobody ever would have suspected that
she had so much self-control as she showed that
day. Of course, nobody knew that when she
was alone she suffered much, suffered with all the
passion of her soul. But she was proud that she
had been able to save her reputation and her
honor before the court.
It was also our little Marquise and nobody
else, who once, quite seriously, sent the Marquise
de Calvis a challenge for a pistol duel, and she
would have been quite able to fight a duel for a
lover whom the Calvis had stolen from her. The
duel had to be prohibited by the Pompadour, or
something serious would have happened, because
both the Marquises were quite wrought up over
the affair.
It was also the Marquise, who, when she was
but twenty years old, made the ambassador from
England fall so much in love with her, that he had
to be removed from Paris by force, thus severing
diplomatic relations between the two countries.
When he was to be taken away, he defended him-
self in his house on the Rue Richelieu with omes
guns he had acquired somehow, and he shot with
them until he had no more powder left to shoot
with. When he was finally arrested, he had the
Marquise's picture hanging on a golden chain
around his neck. Quite a scandalous picture it
was, because it showed the little Marquise dressed
in nothing but a strip of royal ermine.
These are two or three of her adventures,
only two or three out of two or three hundred
baot all of them can be told). It will suffice to
)ny that the Marquise de Talmot was one of the
sest loved and least loving ladies in the Court, and
that she played a part in every secret and public
scandal. And she remained there not only dur-
ing her younger years, during the reign of Louis
XV, as most ladies of the Court did, but also
when she had grown older. She lived in all possi-
ble splendour, until suddenly, in the year 1792,
something which she never had noticed before,
the people, came into her life.
Another detail must be added here, and that
is that when she was eighteen, she was married to
the Marquis de Talmot; but neither paid
much attention to this fact, and they hardly
knew each other, and saw each other almost only
in society. During the first few weeks or months
perhaps for a whole year, they sometimes had
tried to get near each other, but, since their mar-
riage had been nothing else but a business matter,
arranged by the parents to join the two fortunes,
and no children came, they both had gone their
own way and lived apart from each other. The
Marquis, a quiet gentleman, was quite offended
by the life at the Court, and returned to his estates
in southern France and remained there, living a
leisurely life, when he did not happen to be on
some field of battle, fighting for his king. The
Continued on page 21
December, 1923

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