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deluged the Comédie Française with her wretched
productions. Her great ambition was to have
one of her pieces acted on the boards of
Molière's theatre. It was in vain that she bribed
the principal actors, fed the committee, wept
and prayed, complimented, persecuted, and
resented: they would have none of her. Now, it
was a superb orange-tree, by which she would
win a favourable verdict; now, a turkey stuffed
with truffles; now, a group in porcelainApollo
and the Musesfor M. Molé's sideboard. All
in vain: they accepted her presents and rejected
her pieces, ate her turkey and cut up her
dramas. Olympe was not daunted. As fast as one
piece was refused she composed another, to share
the same fate, until, wearied and exasperated,
she bearded the awful committee in full conclave
this time without flatteries or bribes to
soften their hearts. The committee was not
accustomed to indignities from its slaves; the
name of Madame Olympe de Gouges was
angrily erased from the register; her pieces were
returned, and an end was put to all intercourse
between her and the Comédie Française. Olympe
was furious. She wrote and intrigued, and
exhaled her despair in violent threats, till she
became the standing nuisance of the time. M. de
Beaumarchais suffered from her severity; and,
as her abuse of her opponents was not always
measured, it was no pleasant thing to fall into
her hands. Everywhere she was repulsed, everywhere
disappointed, until at last she thought
better of her quarrel, and humbled herself to
the powers. Vanquished by her tears, Molé
took her part in the committee, and a
reconciliation was effected, by which she was
reinstated to exactly the same place as before the
quarrel. This truce instantly brought on the
devoted heads of the committee, two new pieces.
Olympe used to compose a drama in about forty-
eight hours; and again and again other dramas
poured in in quick succession. The Comédie
Française accepted her now as a chronic malady,
and courteously declined her pieces without reading
them. At last, Olympe wrote a book wherein
she gave all the details of her bribes and
flatteries, and crying out in despair: "Oh, if I had
been a man, what blood I would have shed!
what ears I would have cut!"

But graver events were preparing in France,
and Olympe de Gouges was startled, like
Cubières, from her dreams of Fame, by the
cannon of the Revolution. Here was a wider
field for her. She flung herself impetuously
into the movement, writing to a nation now,
instead of to a committee, and demanding
speech of the Assembly instead of a playhouse
audience. She asked to be allowed to
defend "Louis Capet" together with Malesherbes:
a demand which it is scarcely necessary
to add, was rejected by the Convention as
unhesitatingly as her dramas by the Comédie
Française. She then essayed a piece for the
"Theatre of the Republic," a wretched daub of a
thing, full of marches and counter-marches and
military evolutions, " to suit the taste of the
times;" introducing among the prominent
characters people then livingDumouriez, young
Egalité, the Demoiselles Fernig, and others. The
republican audience relished her as little as the
royalist committee had done. They hissed. In the
midst of that terrible sound, Mademoiselle Candeille
came to the foot-lights to give the name
of the author, when a woman, breathless, wild,
dishevelled, crazed, rushed to the front of the
boxes, screaming: " Citizens, you demand the
authorhere she is! It is I, Olympe de
Gouges! If you have not found the piece good,
it is because the actors have played it horribly!"
This was more than flesh and blood
could bear. The actors protested that they had
done their best, and the audience took their
parts; some hissed, some followed her through
the lobbies with jeers and insults, some
demanded back their money, and poor Olympe
had enough to do to escape this outburst.
But she obstinately held her own : the play
was performed once more, and then the
condemnation was so unmistakable that she
was obliged to give way, and content herself
with publishing a long accusatory
account, which is not one of the least curious
documents of the period. Beaten back from
the ranks of the drama, how was she to feed
that mad ambition of hers? how find place and
action for her insatiable desires? Literature
had failed her, like love, but politics were still
open. She must be doing something, the more
wild and mad the better: she must be fighting,
now that she was not held worth the loving; so
she turned against Robespierre as the most
prominent object in her way. Robespierre quietly
replied by a decree of death, and poor mad,
feverish Olympe de Gouges laid her head on
the scaffold, as the best resting-place her ambition
could provide her with.

"Fatal desire of renown!" she was heard to
whisper softly to herself, while taking her last
look of the Boulevard's trees; " I wished to be

"Louis Abel Beffroy de Reigny, called Cousin
Jacques, esquire, born at Laon, the sixth
of November, 1757, of the Musée de Paris, of
the Academies of Arras and Bretagne, &c., fair
hair, five feet six in height, with the left eye
and cheek damaged by fire, living at Paris, rue
des Vieux Augustins, Hôtel de Beauvais, No.
264." This was his own description of himself
in one of the early numbers of his many works.
With one side of his face half roastedhe was
dropped into the fire when a miserable little
swaddled-up babyand the other side handsome,
Cousin Jacques began life by falling in
love with a pretty young grisette, when he was
about seventeen. The affair was discovered,
and he was sent back to school, none the better
for the escapade. On his way thither he met
with a grenadier, to whom he told his story.
The grenadier began by ridicule, but ended by
being as much in love as the schoolboy. He
soon left his companion, and Cousin Jacques
received his first lesson in woman's inconstancy
and a friend's treachery. The whole chapter

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