Madame de Boufflers was a real historical figure, a French noblewoman, a contemporary of Casanova, mistress to King Stanislas of Poland and someone who enjoyed a succession of lovers. According to historian Ian Kelly she was one of a number of ladies-in-waiting ‘with some time and much money on their hands’ who had become intrigued by our Venetian runaway. Boufflers, therefore, seemed someone who fitted the bill as a typical representative of the sophisticated, promiscuous and cynical court of Madame de Pompadour; she was a woman who was said to have ‘possessed every virtue except chastity’.
In ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’, we first come across Boufflers in ‘Chapter 2 – Stefano, Marie and Giuseppe’ when Stefano reports to Marie that she is one of three women Casanova is simultaneously making love to. She later plays a role as a confidant of Madame de Pompadour’s and her go-between in arranging for Gabrielle to become one of Louis XV’s mistresses. Unlike the real Madame de Boufflers, however, ours has less wit, humour and intelligence although she is, quite clearly, well educated. She’s a royal sycophant adept at pleasing her mistress while simultaneously being a snob and a hypocrite who dresses up her shameless willingness to prostitute herself to men of power and influence in the language of modesty and duty.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 to 4 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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