As you may or may not know, I have a wide and eclectic taste in subject matters. I can easily transport myself to long lost era’s and although I probably wouldn’t make an even mediocre actress, I do have a taste and perhaps an inclination for putting myself in a role for either fun or necessity, often based on historical people of notoriety. But going back to these interests, my latest fascination is of Madame du Barry. For one reason or another, what I’ve come to associate with her is her parting words, which has become widely synonymous to that of existential anxiety.
This rather good-natured woman, the epitome of a harlot with a heart of gold, didn’t go quietly. Contrary, her ending became somewhat of a spectacle, and even in the last days, she used her vast and celebrated collection of jewellery as means of buying time. But no sooner had the Commissioner of the Committee of Public Safety taken down the list of jewels and their exact whereabouts, before she was sent to the scaffold. To the cries of “You are going to hurt me! Oh please do not hurt me!”, she was placed under Madame Guillotine with her final words “Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment.” (“One moment more, executioner, one little moment.”).
Madame Vigée-Lebrun, who knew Madame du Barry rather well and had painted her more than once was to write: ‘Madame Du Barry … is the only woman, among all the women who perished in the dreadful days, who could not stand the sight of the scaffold. She screamed, she begged mercy of the horrible crowd that stood around the scaffold, she aroused them to such a point that the executioner grew anxious and hastened to complete his task. This convinced me that if the victims of these terrible times had not been so proud, had not met death with such courage, the Terror would have ended much earlier. Men of limited intelligence lack the imagination to be touched by inner suffering, and the populace is more easily stirred by pity than by admiration.’
The Sleeping Beauty
purportedly the oldest wax figurine at Madame Tussauds on display
It is believed to have been made in the likeness of Madame du Barry.
If so her striking beauty is undeniable