Marie Jacinthe de Botidoux to Martha Jefferson (Randolph)

editorial note

The text that follows is part of what Botidoux referred to as one of her “journal” letters. The Editors have broken this manuscript, which spans nearly three months, into sections dated as Botidoux dated them, and grouped each transcription together with its translation. Unless otherwise noted, Botidoux’s original punctuation and spelling have been retained. Links to navigate from one dated section to another appear below.

Go to “journal” beginning 4 Nov. 1789Go to previous “journal” entry 4 Nov. 1789Go to next “journal” entry 15 Nov. 1789

Samedi 7 novembre [1789]

je viens de recevoir une Lettre de Curson ou elle me [. . .] repond que son mari est outré de mes soupcons, quelle se brouillera avec moi si je refuse d’aller passer un an avec elle L’été prochain qu’elle ne me veut pas Cet hiver parscequ’elle n’ira pas à Londre, mais quelle espere M’amuser L’été à Waterperry & & & enfin une Lettre si charmante que je Vais Lui ecrire que j’accepte son offre. elle me dit aussi, (Ce qui m’inquiete beaucoup) que ton vaisseau à beaucoup souffert j’espere Cependant que ton voyage sera heureux, je ne te Peux dire tout Ce que je souffre, depuis que tu est partie, de L’idée que tu est sur mer avec un si vilain tems, surtout qu’il me semble que Cet air t’est bien pernicieux puisque La seule traversée du havre à Cows t’a rendue si Malade,=je suis sure que Le pauvre mr stone est actuellement d’une humeur diabolique contre moi. Lady Elisabeth m’avoit priée de Lui Chercher une femme de Chambre Mlle Denise etant partie, j’en avois trouvé une excellente mais qui vouloit 20 Louis de gages & je L’ai écrit hier à mr Stone, qui est venu ici Ce matin pour me parler a Ce sujet, j’etois depuis deux jours à La place vendome Chez ma sœur, on Le Lui a dit et il a demandé mon adresse pour y venir, point du tout C’est que je suis revenue un [. . .] quart d’heure après qu’il etoit parti de maniere que nous nous sommes Croisés sans nous rencontrer ajoutes a Cela qu’il fait un tems abominable depuis trois jours et que Ce matin surtout il faisoit une pluie, un vent, et une boue dans Les rues, terrible, tu imagines Combien il a du pester Contre moi,=jeudi dernier j’ai été aux bouffons, en sortant je rencontre, dans [. . .] Le [. . .] passage ou on attend sa voiture, [. . .] Le Spirituel tom Mr Murray ou un qui Lui ressemble furieusement un autre anglois encore qui etoit chez Mde gardner Le premier jour du ballon qui etoit aussi Chez Le duc dorset Le jour de La naissance du roi enfin pour tacher de te Le faire reconnoitre, Car je ne me ressouviens plus de son nom, un qui a L’air spirituel et un certain petit regard en dessous, je rencontre donc Ces Mrs qui me regardent beaucoup et s’envont fort impertinament non seulement sans me parler mais sans me saluer, j’en ai été si outrée si piquée que je n’en [. . .] ai pas dormi de La nuit, Cela n’est il pas desesperant qu’après m’être Laissée Casser Les bras Patiemment par Ce charmant Mr M. il ne me reconnoisse plus, aussi je jure bien qui si jamais je Le rencontre mes jolis yeux ne L’honoreront pas seulement d’un regard


Lady j’ai oublié de te dire que Lady Elisabeth m’a envoyé par Mr stone deux Ceintures charmantes. Lady Caroline en a aussi envoyé deux à Daudincthun mais assez Laides surtout une. je suis actuellement à faire deux bources Charmantes que je Leur envoyrai par mr stone=

editors’ translation

Saturday 7 November [1789]

I just received a letter from Curzon, in which she replies that her husband is outraged by my suspicions, that we will be on bad terms if I refuse to spend a year with her next summer, that she does not want me this winter, because she will not go to London, but that she hopes to entertain me at Waterperry in the summer, etc., etc., etc. The letter is so charming that I am going to write her accepting her offer. She also tells me (which worries me very much) that your ship suffered a great deal. I hope nevertheless that you have a good trip. I cannot tell you how much I have suffered, since you left, with the idea that you are at sea in such ugly weather, especially because I think that that air is quite harmful to you, since the crossing from Le Havre to Cows sickened you so==I am sure that poor Mr Stone is presently in a diabolical mood over me. Lady Elizabeth had asked me to find him a chambermaid, since Mlle Denise left. I found an excellent one, but she wanted 20 louis in wages, and yesterday I wrote to inform Mr Stone of this. He came here this morning to talk about it. For the past two days I had been at my sister’s residence at the Place Vendôme. He was told so, and he asked for the address so that he could go there. But because I returned here a quarter of an hour after he had left for there, we crossed each other’s paths without meeting. Furthermore the weather has been horrible for three days and, especially this morning, it was rainy, windy, and muddy in the streets. It was awful, and you can imagine how much he must have cursed me==Last Thursday I was at the Bouffons. As I departed, in the alley where one waits for the carriages, I met the witty Tom, Mr Murray, or one who looks terribly like him, and also another Englishman. The latter was at Mde Gardner’s on the first day of the balloon flight, and at the Duke of Dorset’s on the king’s birthday—this to try to make you recollect him, since I no longer remember his name. He looks witty, with a certain surreptitious look. So, I meet these gentlemen, who look at me for a long time and then quite insolently go their way, not only without speaking to me but without even a salute. I was so outraged, so piqued that I could not sleep that night. Is it not exasperating that, after I patiently let myself be annoyed by this charming Mr M., he does not recognize me? I therefore swear that if I ever meet him again, my beautiful eyes will not honor him, not even with a glance.


I forgot to tell you that Lady Elizabeth sent me two charming belts, care of Mr Stone. Lady Caroline also sent two to d’Audincthun, but rather ugly, especially one of them. I am presently making two charming purses, which I will send to them by Mr Stone.

Go to next “journal” entry 15 Nov. 1789

RC (ViU: Botidoux Letters, # 5385-aa); some corners torn; damaged at folds. Translation by Dr. Roland H. Simon.

Opéra bouffon was the French designation for Italian opera buffa, comic opera performed in the original Italian or in French, with farcical situations and characters drawn from everyday life (OED). The Théâtre des Italiens and the Théâtre de Monsieur (later Théâtre Feydeau) were well known for the performance of these works (Oxford Dictionary of Music; Howard C. Rice, Thomas Jefferson’s Paris [1976], 45–9).

Men's Casual Shoes, Trainers, Sneakers
Author
Marie Jacinthe de Botidoux
Date Range
Date
November 4, 1789 to January 20, 1790
Collection