Monday, July 6, 2009
Le Salon de Joséphine…
Welcome to Josephine’s salon…
I thought that since we are getting to know Josephine on a more personal level as time goes on, it would only be fair to start introducing some of her friends as well…
Beginning with the very interesting, Theresa Cabarrus
Theresa Cabarrus was one lively lady. She was born in Spain from a somewhat well-to-do family; her father having been given the title of count by King Charles IV of Spain.
As a young child Theresa was educated by nuns, in France and then, when she was not yet fifteen, was married off to a Marquis de Fontenay; a short ugly ,but very powerful man. Due to his aristocracy and high position, he was well known in the Court of Louis XVI, where he and Theresa often visited. Theresa, whose exuberant character needed much more excitement than Fontenay could ever provide was still looking for more adventure since she was presumably bored and had had it with her relationship.
But, life changes- and, when the Revolution broke out, Fontenay fled and Theresa, having had enough of him anyway, got a divorce. Her freedom didn’t last long (literally)- she was soon taken to prison for having been married to an aristocrat. This is when she caught the eye of another influential gent named, Jean Lambert Tallien- Commissaire de la Convention National- to make a long story short- he saved her from the guillotine- that in itself must have given her reason for strong attraction…and so, she became his mistress. Though, it was not all glamour and high life; Theresa may have appeared as flimsy, but in reality, through the influence of Tallien, she became most instrumental in releasing many prisoners who would have met their terrible fate by the guillotine.
So when does Josephine come in to the picture?
Theresa was once again imprisoned when she accompanied Tallien back to Paris and that’s when Robespierre cast her there and then transferred her to Carmes…That’s where she met Josephine. Tallien once again got Theresa out- from then, soon followed the release of Josephine. Due to Theresa’s efforts and achievements in having prisoners released she was awarded the title Notre- Dame de Thermidor.
Although her love story with Tallien would lead to marriage…the couple had one daughter and divorced a few years later. Theresa went on to live a very exotic lifestyle, taking on many lovers. Throughout her life, she gave birth to ten children from these numerous amoureux. In the end, she would attempt to regain her reputation by marrying Francois-Joseph-Philippe de Riquet, Count of Caraman, 16th Prince of Chimay. Theresa would hold somewhat of a Court where she and her husband invited many illustrious guests, including musicians, such as Luigi Cherubini and Maria Malibran.
She died in Chimay in 1835 at the age of 62.
More on Theresa and Josephine to follow…
Posted by Lucy at 7:25 AM