The Comtesse’s Song

Having recently (and briefly) dug back into Jeanne de La Motte-Valois‘s memoirs (The Story of My Life, or Vie de Jeanne de St. Remy de Valois), I came again across a charming passage which, I think, illustrates Jeanne’s brazenness not so much while she was in jail as after she escaped to England.

To set the scene: Jeanne was arrested in 1785 for her alleged part in the theft of a necklace consisting of 2700 carats of diamonds–and worth a literal fortune. The jewelers were under the impression they had sold the necklace to the Queen discreetly in order to avoid the political backlash that was sure to follow if the Queen squandered her money so frivolously. The Queen claimed she hadn’t bought the necklace, had never intended to buy the necklace, and had no knowledge of where the necklace had gone. Jeanne, a woman who claimed to be the Queen’s friend and a countess, was in the middle of the mystery; the evidence shows that she duped the jewelers and a Cardinal into believing that she was working on the Queen’s behalf, when really she was just trying to spirit away the necklace. Though it’s shrouded in mystery, it appears she succeeded in stealing the necklace. But the web of lies began to fall apart, and Jeanne was clapped in the Bastille. (For a more thorough description of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, see The Short Story tab above.)

Jeanne is writing about her time in the Bastille, after her arrest but before her trial. The Governor of the Bastille, Launay, was later brutally murdered by the men who stormed the fortress only four years later. Shortly following the events of 1785 that she describes, Jeanne was transferred to the Conciergerie, which is adjacent to the Palais de Justice where the trial took place. She was convicted, publicly beaten and branded, and sent to

The Marquis de Launay, Governor of the Bastille, is arrested during the storming of the Bastille; he was brutally murdered by the revolutionaries. Storming of the Bastille and arrest of the Governor M. de Launay, July 14, 1789 by Jean-Baptiste Lallemand. Source: WikiMedia Commons

the Salpêtrière.

Jeanne writes this, however, from a safe distance. She escaped prison and went to England, where she was welcomed. The English were quite happy to take her in, because her presence was an embarrassment to their perennial enemy, France. In any case, it’s important to remember that Jeanne not only had an agenda, she was creating her own myth. Jeanne made herself heroine of her own tale, the victim of a cruel monarchy,  particularly of Marie-Antoinette. The description of a brave, defiant, downtrodden young woman is part of her own myth. She claims to have charmed pretty much everyone. Can it all be taken seriously? There might be a kernel of truth in it. To me, however, it seems to be mostly fabricated. I think that, while safe in London, she was  brave and defiant, and pretended that she had been the same while locked in the Bastille. This little story about her defiant song is more an indication of how she felt and thought while writing her memoirs than it is an accurate account of her mindset while in prison.

In any case, here is Jeanne’s account of her song:

At some moments, I had such a flow of spirits that I frequently amused myself with singing a number of songs as they succeeded in my mind, blending them all together, without any attention to regularity. Many of the invalids, who heard me, reported to the Governor that a lady in the third Comptée sang at least sixty different songs and airs every day, and that she got up to the window, where they saw her very plainly.

The Governor, upon this intelligence, ordered them to come and listen to what I sang; he also stationed another person to listen attentively to the words of my songs. I was aware of my spy, though he spoke very low. I redoubled my efforts, and sung this passage from Richard, Couer de Lion: “Oh, Richard! oh, mon roi!” (Instead of the name Richard, substituting Valois.) “–by all the world forsook!” I took occasion, in the course of my song, to introduce the name of the Governor, and finished with a loud laugh. The poor Marquis de Pelport, who saw our spy, dared not utter a word, but I, not at all alarmed at the spy, nor having the least fear of the Governor, continued my song.

At eight the same evening, the Governor came to see me. “Oh, oh!” said I to him gaily, “you are very obliging to make me a visit. You wish, then, to gain the goodwill of the prisoners, by coming to see them?” He smiled. “But you are a singer,” said he. “I am very sorry to have interrupted you!”

And this Governor, so very rigid and austere, who had prohibited singing in the Bastille, entreated me to do him the favor to sing a song. I at first hesitated, but after some little consideration, began to sing. And, that I might be heard throughout the Bastille, I sang a brisk tune. As soon as I had finished, “Very well, Governor!” said I rallyingly, “you have not behaved with the greatest consistency in sending my turnkey, St Jean, to desire me not to sing, for that is contrary to the rules of the Bastille, when I can absolutely say that I have authority to sing even from the Governor himself!”

Jeanne de La Motte, “The Story of My Life”

For further reading:

The Story of My Life (or “The Life of Jane de St. Remy de Valois, heretofore Comtesse de La Motte“) as published in English in 1791, and source of the above quote)

Vie de Jeanne de St. Remy de Valois, etc., as published in French in 1792

Governor de Launay’s Wikipedia page


Marie Jossel: Jeanne de La Motte’s mother

I am currently working through one of Jeanne de la Motte-Valois’s memoirs. It is available online through Google Books (click this link to go there). This version is the original English translation, published in London’s Paternoster row in 1791. At this time, Jeanne was living in London. Shortly after the publication of this memoir, she died after a fall from a London window onto the London streets (some say she was pushed).

Jeanne de la Motte-Valois

Presumably, Jeanne told her story in French. Unless her English was very good, someone translated this work. Whoever did it was not a great prose stylist. The wording is clunky at best. Most of the sentences stretch on for a week or two without any reason for doing so. Combined with the fact that the English of 220 years ago was slightly different from the English of today, the language of the memoir itself can be a bit tedious. But once you get used to it, it’s worth the trouble. The story is extraordinary.

Google Books offers a text version of the book. You can highlight, copy, and paste the words. But because the software isn’t perfect, and because the page images have some flaws, the text version is messy. As I go, I am copying the text and cleaning it up. I’m doing it roughly; there’s simply too much work for me to go through it with a fine-toothed comb. However, I will bring to the readers of this blog some of the results of this clean-up.

The first of these posts will be about Marie Jossel, Jeanne’s mother. Jeanne was not, to say the least, her mother’s biggest fan. According to Jeanne, her father–the son of a minor nobleman, descended from the illegitimate child of Henri II, unprepared to support his family in any way–had been intended to marry a young noblewoman practically since his birth. As a young man, he fell for a maid in his household, the lovely but barbed Marie. Jeanne’s father, named Jacques like Jeanne’s brother, wanted to marry Marie, but his father disapproved. In spite of his father’s disapproval, Jacques married Marie (the English translation refers to her as Maria for no discernible reason).

As Jeanne herself puts it:

Maria [or Marie] Jossel, a girl who had the charge of the house at Fontette [meaning she was a maid], was the person who had attracted his [Jeanne’s father Jacques’s] eye. She was solicitous to please him and in a short time became pregnant. My father, wishing at once to make her an honorable reparation and to legitimate his child, was induced to ask my grandfather’s consent to marry her; [Jacques’s father], thinking such a union degrading to an illustrious line of ancestry, gave a pointed and formal refusal. This opposition did but increase my father’s ardor; who, after many unsuccessful efforts to win my grandfather to compliance, and remaining unmarried till he was thirty-six years of age (four years longer than the law required) [until the age of thirty, men were required to seek their father’s approval to marry in France], at length solemnized the marriage at Langres in Champaign, under the names of James de Luz and Maria Jossel, where my father had purchased an estate upon which he resided some time previous to the nuptials. About a year after, my grandfather, upon his deathbed, forgave the indiscretion of his son; after whose decease my father and mother left Langres to take possession of the estate at Fontette [the family estate, where Jeanne herself was born].

click below to continue reading…..

Continue reading

A Real Fake Countess–Jeanne de La Motte-Valois’s Lineage

The woman who I usually refer to on this blog as Jeanne de La Motte may have been a liar and a cheat, but like many lies there was a grain of truth in the fabrications.

By the time of the infamous Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Jeanne referred to herself as Comtesse. She and her husband had, shortly after they married, assumed the titles of Comte and Comtesse de La Motte-Valois (or just de La Motte for brevity). Neither Jeanne nor her husband, Nicolas Marc-Antoine de La Motte, were entitled to be called comte or comtesse.

Clearly, this didn’t stop them from assuming the titles anyway. It wasn’t just delusions of grandeur. Having a title at that time didn’t just mean you spoke with a posh accent or had a lot of money. In the late 18th century in France, to have a noble title was to have power, or at the very least the possibility of power. It carried its own weight. It especially came in handy when, as Jeanne did, one wanted to pretend to be the Queen’s fiend. Why would Jeanne pretend to be the Queen’s friend? That’s perfectly simple: Jeanne wanted to convince people to give her, Jeanne, money in exchange for peddling her “influence”. Say you were a young noblewoman looking for a place in the Queen’s household. Jeanne, a comtesse, tells you that she has the Queen’s ear and that she can get you the job. This kind of scam was hardly new.

The two biggest victims of Jeanne’s plot were the Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan and the royal jewelers, Boehmer and Bassenge. You could add Marie Antoinette (the queen in question, of course) to that list, as well. Jeanne convinced Cardinal Rohan not only that she was a comtesse, but that she could reconcile him with the queen after decades of disfavor. All he had to do as help “the Queen” with some financial difficulties she was having. Later, Jeanne parlayed this trust into the theft of an extraordinarily expensive diamond necklace. The short version of the story is available if you look above and click “the short story”.

But Jeanne, at the least, would have probably felt herself thoroughly justified in calling herself a comtesse, even if it was a false title. Why? Because, adventuress though she was, Jeanne had royal blood in her veins and was one of the last living descendants of the royal Valois.

Jeanne, born in Fontette in 1756, was the daughter of an impoverished scion of the royal house of Valois and one of his family’s housemaids. She was not illegitimate; but her ancestor, the first Baron de Fontette, was illegitimate. He was the son of Henri II and Nicole de Savigny, his mistress. His name was also Henri, and he lived 1557-1621. The first Baron would have been powerful and wealthy, having been given a good apportionment of land by his father, the king. The men of the family tended to render military service to the crown, but over the two centuries between the first Baron’s birth and the birth of Jeanne de Valois de Saint-Remy (Saint-Remy was another appellation of the first Baron), the family sunk deeper and deeper into poverty.

Jeanne’s father was a nobleman without money or land. The family had sold off most of its holdings. They were left with the old, leaky castle, which Jeanne describes as having leaky roofs. Some accounts have Jeanne and her siblings (she had an older brother and two younger sisters) living like animals in a shed. When Jeanne was still quite young, her father took the entire family to Paris to see if their fortunes could be repaired. He died shortly thereafter. Jeanne’s mother, the former housemaid, abandoned her children, who were left to beg. One of Jeanne’s ways of begging was to tell people she had a royal ancestor and was one of the last of the Valois line. This eventually got her the attention of the Marquise de Boulainvilliers, who would provide the young Jeanne with some protection.

Jeanne de La Motte-Valois de Saint-Remy

Jeanne was particularly keen on her royal ancestry as her siblings weren’t. Her brother Jacques went into the navy and her sister went into a nunnery. With some help from noble friends, starting with the Marquise, Jeanne’s family were recognized to a point by the crown. The king ranted Jacques the title Baron de Fontette, Jeanne was entitled to call herself Mademoiselle de Valois, and her sister Marianne was to be called Mademoiselle de Saint-Remy. They received a small annuity, which Jeanne viewed as an insult. From the point of view of the crown, it was fair enough; Jeanne was related to the king, but it was a distant relation and she came from the illegitimate branch of the family.

No one, of course, can say for sure, but it seems likely that it was delusions of grandeur instilled in Jeanne by her father that made her long for a lifestyle that was out of her means in ancien regime France. Every bit of money she had went through her fingers like water. When she got hold of some 120,000 francs from Cardinal Rohan, she was suddenly seen living in ostentatious grandeur with lovely new carriages and gold-encrusted everything. This kind of behavior wasn’t uncommon of nobles of the time, who were almost invariably in debt. Jeanne, however, was living so far beyond her means that she was stealing enormous amounts of money to acquire the lifestyle she felt she deserved. She and her husband were known to defraud jewelers by purchasing jewelry on credit (a comtesse could pay for such jewelry, surely?) and then sell it for ready cash.

There is, of course, an element of simple human greed in Jeanne’s story. But it’s also a story of desperation, pride, and a deep feeling of injustice. Jeanne certainly suffered during her childhood. Combined with the stories she was told by her father and his final words to her–to never forget that she was a Valois–this meant that she must have developed a deep, insatiable need to match her outer trappings with what she felt she deserved. She might have gone about it in unethical ways (bribery, probably sexual favors, and out-and-out conning) but to the end, she probably felt she deserved what she took. That is, of course, presuming that she didn’t believe her own stories, most of which are almost certainly at least half lies.

Click HERE for a very nice run-down of Jeanne’s lineage, from the first Baron de Fontette (son of Henri II) down to Jeanne and her family. With Jeanne, this royal line died completely.

The Memoirs

This is a list of the many memoirs of the people directly involved in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace. There was a widespread penchant for writing memoirs at this time, so everyone involved wrote their version of events and had it published. Since the scandal made such a major impact, the memoirs sold well, though the writers didn’t necessarily see much profit due to copyright laws of the time. However, these would have proved juicy readings for the public, as well as for the historian. Although they’re wonderful fist-hand accounts, it’s difficult to decipher fact from fiction, especially in the case of the Affair od the Diamond Necklace. Some are available in various forms in various places. In her fabulous book The Queen’s Necklace, France Mossiker conveniently and brilliantly wove together these memoirs and other primary sources. If you want to read some of these various memoirs, your best bet is to find this book, which isn’t hard to do. If, however, you want to read the entire memoirs, these are the titles of them, and a few links to those that can be found via Google Books.

The Memoirs

Boehmer and Bassenge:

Memoires des joailliers Boehmer et Bassenge, du Août 12, 1785.


Mémoire pour le Comte de Cagliostro, accuse, contro M. le Proceureur-général, accusateur, en presence de M. Le Cardinal de Rohan, de la Comtesse de La Motte et autres, co-accusés.*

Jeanne de La Motte-Valois de Saint Rémy:

Mémoires justicatifs de la comtesse de La Motte-Valois. London 1789.

Memoirs of the Countess de Valois de La Motte. Dublin 1790.

Vie de Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois. London, 1791, Paris 1792.

Nicole d’Oliva:

Mémoire pour la demoiselle le Guay d’Oliva, fille mineure, émancipée d’âge, accusée, contre M. le Procurer-général.*

Jacques Claude Beugnot:

Mémoires, Paris 1823

Madame Campan [Queen’s confidante]:

Mémoires sur la vie privée de Marie Antoinette. Paris 1823

Nicolas de La Motte:

Mémoires inédits du comte de La Motte-Valois (ed. Louis Lacour). Paris, 1858).

Retaux de Villette:

Mémoires historiques des intrigues de la cour, Venice 1790.

*Not personal memoires

Links to memoirs on Google Books for your edification

Count Cagliostro [FRENCH]:

Nicole d’Oliva [FRENCH]

Jacques Claude Beugnot [ENGLISH] volume 1  . volume 2

Madame Campan, confidante of Marie Antoinette

Abbe Georgel, servant of Cardinal Rohan

The Mysterious Death of the Comtesse

Jeanne de La Motte was almost certainly the mastermind behind the theft of the diamond necklace that caused the downfall of the ancien regime in France. If you want her full story click here. If you want the short version of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, look above for “The Short Story”.

In May, 1786, Jeanne de La Motte was sentenced to be publicly flogged, branded on both shoulders, and imprisoned for life with all of her goods forfeit to the crown. There is almost no mistake that Jeanne’s gains were ill-gotten. She had duped a Cardinal out of a large amount of money, then used the Cardinal to orchestrate the heist of a diamond necklace worth a fortune. Still, the sentence was harsh. This was because the main offense was criminal disrespect for the person of the queen, Marie-Antoinette. It seems that during her efforts to swindle the Cardinal, Jeanne had made him believe the Queen wanted to buy the diamond necklace with him as her secret go-between. In order to convince him, Jeanne hired a whore to play the part of the Queen in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. This was very bad for the Queen’s reputation, because many people believed she was capable of meeting a Cardinal with a bad reputation at midnight in the gardens.

In any case, once she had been beaten and branded, she was put into the Salpetriere prison for women. It was from here that she made a daring and heroic escape. She fled across France and made her way to London.

The English naturally welcomed her with open arms. After all, England was always willing to embarrass France, their

Jeanne de La Motte-Valois de Saint-Remy

perennial rival. Jeanne was certainly not quiet, either. She had said some rather nasty things during the trial, and she kept up the flow of vitriol while in London. Many of her accusations against the Queen stuck; as the Revolution began to get off the ground, Jeanne was in London, happily writing tell-all memoirs that put Marie-Antoinette in a very bad light–if you believed what Jeanne said (for the record, I believe very little of it).

On August 23, 1791, the Courier and the Chronicle of London carried the death notice of Jeanne de La Motte-Vaois, self-style Comtesse de La Motte. Her death was the result of injuries from falling out of a third-story window.

The question now as then is, how came she to fall out of the window?

It might have been an accident. The Abbé Georgel, a friend of the Cardinal’s, claims that after a night of drunken debauchery, a tipsy Jeanne accidentally went out the window. He also adds that it was God’s judgment on her for being wicked, but then again he never really liked her.

Jeanne might have been pushed. British newspapers reported that bailiffs had come to collect debts owed by Jeanne. Nicolas de La Motte, Jeanne’s husband, claimed that it was agents of the Duc d’Orleans, who wanted Jeanne to return to Paris for political reasons. Nicolas paints a story of the poor woman’s terror as she’s pursued by these men. He says the Duc d’Orleans men tried to arrest her on trumped up charges of debt. Jeanne sent out the maid, trying to get help, but the maid returned with no one. When it appeared there was no help to be had, she dashed for the door. Instead of getting into one of the passing cabs or carriages, she went to her neighbor’s house. The neighbor tried to protect her by saying that he had no fugitive in his house when the men came after her.  The men battered down the door anyway and started searching the house. Jeanne was on the third floor, waiting as they moved up the floors searching for her. They started to break through the door to the room where she hid. She ran to the window, went over the railing, and held on with every intention of letting go and falling to the ground below if her pursuers made it through the door. The door cracked; Jeanne let go. This, at least, is how Nicolas de La Motte tells the story. How much of it is true is really anyone’s guess. But it’s possible that she was “helped” out the window by these alleged men.

Or, Jeanne might have committed suicide. This sounds like what Nicolas is implying happened, albeit suicide under duress. Jeanne actually had a history of suicidal behavior, which she talked about herself (after the death of twin sons, she says that she took a pair of pistols and was about to shoot herself but decided not to at the last second). Her memoirs from the time of her death make it sounds as though she was not suicidal–she talks about never giving up in her fight against her enemies–but in a moment of panic or distress, it’s entirely possible.

Exactly what happened is unclear. But what is clear is that Jeanne did not die immediately. She was badly injured, and suffered for several days before passing on.

As Jeanne lay dying, the situation in France was quickly heating up. The royal family made an ill-advised attempt to escape France, but were caught at Varennes. The attempt was a disaster for the royal family, who was now looked at with suspicion by all of France. They were brought back to Paris to be put under harsher arrest. The news reached Jeanne on her sickbed as she lay dying from the injuries sustained in the fall out the window. Jeanne considered the Queen her personal enemy, and she must have relished the humiliation and failure of the royal family. In many ways, it was Jeanne’s venomous words and accusations that led to the hatred that Marie-Antoinette received. It’s ironic, then, that Jeanne died in 1791, just about two years before the Queen would have her head cut off by guillotine.

The Verdict


If you don’t want to know what happened to whom, then please don’t read on! If, however, you’re curious about what happened to all these characters who I have bringing to you one by one, then please read on.

Early on the morning of Mary 31, 1786, the courtyard of the Palais de Justice and all of the surrounding streets and byways were filled with people waiting to hear the verdict in the trial of the century, a trial that had captured the imagination on the entire French kingdom. A Cardinal of the Church was accused of theft, forgery, and lèse-majesté(criminal disrespect for the person of the monarch, in this case Marie-Antoinette); a young, pretty adventuress was accused of masterminding a plot to steal a necklace worth a large fortune and tricking the Cardinal; a mystic, Rosicrucian, and fraud was accused of–sort of, somehow–being involved in the theft; and a young prostitute was accused of impersonating the queen in the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles.

Cardinal Prince Louis de Rohan had a very large, very powerful family. As court was opened very early on May 31st, 19 powerful members of his family (from the Soubise, Guéménée, and Lorraine) arrived in mourning. It was a show of support for their relative and respect for the Parlement de Paris, the court hearing the case.

Before this trial began, many witnesses had been examined. It was something of a parade, including everyone from a clockmaker to the Du Barry herself. The Prosecutor General, Monsieur Joly de Fleury, wrote down his recommendations to the court before the accused were brought before it. The recommendations were sealed, to be opened after the accused persons were questioned by the lords of the Parlement. Once this was done, the seal would be broken and the recommendations read and the voted on. Continue reading

Jeanne de La Motte-Valois

Starting with this post, I am going to be writing about the endlessly fascinating Affair of the Diamond Necklace. In this issue: the Comtesse de La Motte, the orchestrator of a diamond theft that rocked the world.

This is all prompted by the historical novel I’m working on. I’m 40k into the story (give or take 401 words; or, rather, take 401 words because it’s at exactly 39,599). Obviously, I’ve gotten a hell of a lot done already, and I’m pretty pleased with what I have. I will have to go back and do a little bit of cleaning up, I think, just to make sure I haven’t inadvertently given the wrong impression about this, that, or the other thing. The story is being set up rather like a thriller or a mystery, though the revelation (which I just wrote) comes around halfway through the story, not at the end. The denouement (or at least the aftermath of poor Nicole’s realization) is going to be much longer. Because, after all, it’s about her, not about the story.

The Characters #1: Jeanne de La Motte-Valois de St Remy (July 1756 – August 1791)

jeanne de la motte

Jeanne de Valois de St Remy was born in the provinces, near the town of Bar-Sur-Aube, France. Her family were impoverished nobility, living in the ramshackle Chateau de Fontette. One of her ancestors, Henri de Saint-Remy, was born in 1557, the illegitimate son of Henri II of France. His descendants were given the surname “Saint-Remy” and this Henri was made Baron of Fontette. Several generations later, the family was in dire financial straits. They had kept themselves alive through a tradition of military service, but Jeanne’s father did not carry on this tradition. He married one of the maids as the family fortunes sank even lower. Jeanne had an older brother, a younger sister who died as a young child, and a sister who was near her age. Her family ended up walking to Paris to try to make their way with only a paper outlining their pedigree. The father died, the mother abandoned her children, and Jeanne and her brother were forced to beg.

According to Jeanne, she carried her little sister on her back and went to the road to Passy, where she met the Marquise de Boulainvilliers, who took her in. She was sent to school (and didn’t like it), worked for increasingly lowly couturiers (and didn’t like it), and was briefly in a convent (and didn’t like it). She returned to Bar-sur-Aube, running away from the convent. There she was supported by the Beugnot family. After what appears to have been what is called a “shotgun wedding” in common parlance, she went to Paris with her husband (Nicolas Marc-Antoine de La Motte), looking to make her fortune by importuning the queen with her sad story. She expected that, as the last (though illegitimate) living Valois, she would be given some support. She was actually given a fairly generous annuity, considering how distant her relation was to the king. She was also to be known as Mademoiselle de Valois, her brother was given the title Baron de Valois, and her sister was to be called Mademoiselle de St Remy.

Her publicity stunts at Versailles grew increasingly desperate. She fainted in front of Madame Elisabeth, King Louis XVI’s sister, and even managed to get into the good graces of Madame Elisabeth and the Comtesse d’Artois, the King’s sister-in-law. Then there was some little scandal involving Jeanne and the Comte d’Artois, her patroness’s husband. She fell out of favor. She went to one minister and refused to leave until she was listened to. This produced a slight increase in her pension. Still, she was in troubled waters.

This is where her story gets interesting. Jeanne, now calling herself a countess, had begun to convince people in about 1783 to 1784 that she was a close friend to the queen. She put around the story that she and the queen were on intimate terms. The pandering of influence was big business in a time and place where all good things flowed from the king and, especially there and then, from queen Marie-Antoinette. Jeanne roped in a Cardinal and Prince of the blood, a man named Prince Louis de Rohan. He had alienated the queen when she was still Dauphine (queen in waiting), and wanted to get back into her favor. Jeanne took advantage of him, bilking him for one hundred twenty thousand francs, a vast sum. She did it by having her “personal secretary” Retaux de Villette forge letters from the queen. The “queen” requested loans because she was more than usually hard up–because, of course, the queen of France typically had such troubles (or not). In any case, Jeanne apparently pocketed the money and showed sudden signs of affluence. She returned briefly to Bar-sur-Aube, lording it over the locals.

Then this all got very interesting. Continue reading