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.

To “journal” beginning 4 Nov. 1789To previous “journal” entry 7 Nov. 1789To next “journal” entry 15 Dec. 1789

16 15 Novembre [1789]

voici un billet d’enterrement du Clergé qui Court paris. M. vous êtes priés d’assister au Convoi et enterrement de très haut très puissant et très magnifique seigneur Clergé. décédé dans La salle de L’assemblée Nationale Le jour des morts 1789. son Corps sera porté par mrs mirabeau, chapelier thouret et alexandre de Lameth Mrs Les abbés Sieyes et Mauri Conduiront Le deuil en grandes pleureuses. il passera devant La bource et La Caisse d’escompte qui Lui jetterons de L’eau benite. mrs Les abbés sieyes et Maury Conduiront Le deuil en grandes pleureuses. un deprofundis sera chanté en faux bourdon par Les dames de L’opera revêtues de L’habit de Veuves. Le deuil se rendra chez mr Necker ou Les Creanciers de L’etat surtout Les agioteurs (un L’evêque d’autun à La tête de Ces derniers) sont priés de se rendre=j’ai payé a sieber 14 pour de La musique que tu Lui devois—1 ariette Copiée 1 12 S. une romance de Nina 1 4 L’ouverture d’henry 4—2 8 S. un entracte d’henry 4—1 16 S et un quartor pour Clavecin de viotti 7 4 S=

dimanche soir 15e novembre=il vient de se passer Ce soir La plus plaisante scene aux Bouffons. on y donnoit Le souper d’henry 4 plus de deux cent poissardes y ont été elles ont voulu aller chercher Le roi et La reine Mais on Leur a dit qu’il etoit au Conseil et La reine à son jeu. elles sont alors revenues1 dans La salle ou elles ont fait Mil folies avant qu’on Commencat. pendant Le spectacle elles buvoient Continuellement dans Leurs Loges, se parloient d’un bout de La salle à L’autre et faisoient un tel tapage que Les acteurs etoient obligés de Leur dire de se taire. tout Le Monde se tenoit Les Cotés a force de rire de voir Leurs farces. il y a un endroit dans La piece ou on boit à La santé du roi elles sont alors toutes descendues sur Le theatre et ont bu avec Les acteurs. enfin Lorsque La piece a été finie elles ont Chanté 3 ou 4 Couplets de Leur Composition. Bath qui y etoit dit que de sa vie elle n’a vu un spectacle si plaisant et ou elle ai tant ri=

editors’ translation

15 November [1789]

Here is an announcement of the burial of the clergy that is making the rounds in Paris: “Sir, you are invited to attend the funeral procession and burial of the very eminent, very powerful and very magnificent Lord Clergy, who died in the hall of the National Assembly on All Souls’ Day, 1789. His body will be carried by Messrs Mirabeau, Chapelier, Thouret, and Alexandre de Lameth. It will pass in front of the Stock Exchange and the Caisse d’Escompte, from which holy water will be thrown upon it. Messrs the abbés Sieyès and Maury will lead the funeral as official head mourners. A de Profundis will be sung in fauxbourdon by the ladies of the Opera, dressed in widows’ clothes. The mourners will proceed to Mr Necker’s, where the creditors of the state, especially the stockbrokers (a certain bishop of Autun at the head of the latter), are asked to attend”==I paid Sieber 14 that you owed him for music—a copy of one short aria, 1 and 12 sols, a romance of Nina, 1 and 4 sols, the overture of Henry the Fourth—2 and 8 sols, one intermezzo of Henry the Fourth—1 and 16 sols and a quartet for harpsichord by Viotti, 7 and 4 sols==Sunday evening 15th November==The most amusing scene just happened tonight at the Bouffons. The play was Le Souper d’Henri IV. More than two hundred market women were there. They wanted to go get the king and queen but they were told that he was in council and she was at her game. Then they came back inside, where they did a thousand crazy things before the play started. During the performance, they drank continuously in their boxes, talked to one another from one end of the theatre to the other, and made such a racket that the actors had to tell them to be quiet. Everyone was in stitches from laughing so much at their antics. At a certain point in the play there is a toast to the king, and they all went onstage and drank with the actors. At last, when the play was over, they sang 3 or 4 verses of their own composition. Bath, who was there, says that she has not seen a show as amusing and where she laughed so much in her entire life.

To next “journal” entry 15 Dec. 1789

RC (ViU: Botidoux Letters, # 5385-aa); partially dated; quotation marks in translation editorially supplied. Enclosure not found. Translation by Dr. Roland H. Simon.

fauxbourdon, literally “false bass,” is a form of vocal harmonization, primarily associated with music of the fifteenth century (Oxford English Dictionary; Oxford Dictionary of Music). Nina, ou la Folle par Amour [nina] (Nina, or The Love-distracted Maid), a popular one-act opéra comique with text by Benoît Joseph Marsollier des Vivetières and music by Nicolas Marie Dalayrac [D’Alayrac], was first performed in Paris in May 1786. Thomas Jefferson, possibly accompanied by his daughter Martha, attended a performance on 8 June 1786 (ODM; James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826 [1997], 1:629). A Jefferson family copy of l’ouverture d’henry 4, the Grand Overture of Jean Paul Gilles Martini’s opera Henry IV, remains at the University of Virginia (ViU: Monticello Music Collection, Mss 3177; Helen Cripe, Thomas Jefferson and Music [2009], 106). le souper d’henri iv, ou le laboureur devenu gentilhomme (The Supper of Henry IV, or the Plowman Turned Gentleman), by Maximilien Jean Boutillier and Desprez de Walmont, opened at the Théâtre de Monsieur in October 1789. poissards: specifically, Parisian market women who led riots during the French Revolution (OED).

1Manuscript: “revenue.”