Julie D’Aubigny and Dueling Scars: Citation Needed 6×04


This is the Technical Difficulties, we’re
playing ‘Citation Needed’. Joining me today, he reads books y’know, it’s
Chris Joel. ‘Ey up. Everybody’s favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan. Here’s a thought: earlier today, Noel Edmonds
was entirely naked. Just imagine. And standing in for Matt Gray,
the mouth from the south, Will Seaward. Hello! I’m not from Yorkshire. Get him out(!) In front of me I’ve got an article from Wikipedia,
and these folks can’t see it. Every fact they get right is a point and a
ding, and there’s a special prize for particularly
good answers, which is: Today, we are talking about Julie d’Aubig.. d’Aubig?… D’Aubigny. This is it. Forty minutes of this, try and stay with us. To be fair, I am not French. And if… No way. Really? If I were English, I’d pronounce this as der-orb-ig-ny, but I think it’s d’Aubigny. D’Aubigny sounds fine. Let’s go with d’Aubigny, yes. Better known as Mademoiselle Maupin. Mopin. Moppin. I’m not French. This is going to be… It’s a French article. I’ll be honest, it’s downhill from here. The whole thing’s not in French, is it? No, it’s not. M-A-U-P-I-N. P-I-N? Maupin. Mau-pin. Madame Maupin. Was she a mistress of Louis XIV? It’s a long list, if it is. Let’s face it(!) Born to Gaston d’Aubigny, a secretary to the
Master of the Horse… for King Louis XIV. It’s not close enough to have a point, but she was certainly- A secretary for a horse, would you believe? [whinnies] “Take that down. “Read it back?” [whinnies] “Sir, I know it’s very sad, but
why the long face?” You’re absolutely right that she was a mistress,
but to a Count. So I’m going to give you a point for that. To the… oh, god. A mistress to- French names. Count d’Armagnac? D’Armagnac. Tom, what have you done to yourself? It’s not gone well.
It’s not gone well. D’Armagnac. Go on. Became a mistress by the age of 14, because
pre-French Revolution. But by that point,
she had learned a lot of things, by learning alongside the court pages. Okay. Is that an artful euphemism? No, it’s not. Is it an artless euphemism? No, her father trained the court pages. So what did Julie learn alongside them? Words. I’ll give you a point. Numbers. Yes, reading as well. Standing very still. Going “ooh” at the right moment, when the
king comes in. Yes, all that kind of stuff. Polishing pointy bits of gold chairs. There’s a couple of other skills that a page
would have in those days. Carrying things. Putting things down. Something a little more violent. Swording! Yes. Swording! Which is an artless euphemism. Swording. She learned to fence, and then dressed as
a boy from an early age. She got involved with an assistant fencing
master. The police were then looking for him,
to arrest him. What had he done? You know he’s got a sword in his hand? Yeah. You know he waves it around in a violent fashion? Mm. Did he – perchance and taking a punt – did
he stab someone? Yes. I’m looking for something specific here. What might be a reason for stabbing someone,
pre-Revolution? Being slightly upset. In which case, you would do what? – Oh, a duel!
– Stab ’em! A duel! You’d fight a duel. Yes. The man she was involved with killed a man
in an illegal duel, so they fled the city, to Marseilles. How did she earn her living on the way south? Fighting for money. Yes. F***! Giving fencing exhibitions, and also, singing. She was a talented singer. Singing and fencing at the same time
would be a hell of an act, wouldn’t it? Opera. Which I believe had been invented
at that point. And not only that; she joined an opera company. Have a point. For full operatic effect, did she die of tuberculosis
at the end? We’ve seen very different versions of Aida. Made it to Marseilles. Grew bored of her lover. Not what I thought you were going to say. Grew bored of this humdrum, dull life
of opera singing and fencing. Decides to become an accountant. She ran away somewhere,
and she ran away with someone. To Nice. With a man from Nice(!) Right, you are wrong about Nice, and you are
also wrong about a man. With a woman! Yes. From a place that isn’t Nice! I’m not giving you a point for that, but it’s
Avignon. So yes. Oh, I was going to say Poitiers. So close. But she was running away, because the girl was sent away by her parents. Where was the other girl sent to? A convent? Yes, absolutely right. So she followed, entering the convent, and- With swords. Let’s face it, you get in most places if you turn up waving swords around,
singing opera. No, she went into the convent, and then tried to free her lover from the
convent. This is a hell of an opera in itself,
let’s face it. I like to think that everybody is singing
all the way through this. Yes, I do. It’s a full-on Rodgers and Hammerstein, this. Could we talk through the plan,
the scheme that she went through, the heist that she pulled? And it’s quite a dark heist, Did it involve swords? to get her and her lover out of the convent. Did the nuns have swords? Er, not to my knowledge, although- “Bloodbath at convent!” But frankly, ‘Sister Act 3’, it’s going to
be absolutely amazing. But then it should have been a very easy heist! “Give me my …ing lover,
or I’ll chop you all to pieces.” As negotiating tactics go,
it’s normally successful, I find. Well, they were trying to cover their tracks. What kind of scheme would you pull to do that? You would pretend to be a doctor. And you’d say, “This nun has a terrible disease! “All of you will get the disease. She must come with me immediately.” And the nuns would go,
“Oh, a doctor has said so.” Then the doctor would also have a sword,
and they… Yes, and they were listening, because he was
♪ SINGING ♪! And then we have the interval. That’s the way it goes. Er, no. She would pretend to be a policeman. and she would say, “This nun has committed
a terrible crime! “She must come with me immediately.” But she was charged, in absentia, for kidnapping, bodysnatching, and arson. So based on that, what was the heist? Oh, s***. So you take a dead body,
replace your lover with it, then burn the whole place down
to cover the tracks. Damn! What worries me is that
your mind went straight to that. Does this s*** count as a confession? There’s no DNA evidence, darling(!) She escaped from that. The affair lasted three months, before the girl returned to her family, and
then she left for Paris. What happened in Paris? And I’m deliberately phrasing that vaguely,
because it’s kind of a repeat. Did she dig up the entire Père Lachaise Cemetery, and burn Paris to the ground? It’s a repeat of something
we’ve already talked about. Something with swords? Yes, definitely. It’s a sword thing, from this lady, I’m guessing. Yes. Catastrophic juggling accident. Oh, did she challenge someone to a duel? Yes, you’re absolutely right. She was insulted by a young nobleman,
fought a duel with him, put a blade through his shoulder. Whoa. Awesome. Was he pinned to a tree in a comical- No, it was just a vicious injury, Gary! It wasn’t a cartoon thing, where he was going, “Well, this is inconvenient. “I’m stapled to this tree now.” “I’ll fight with the other arm!” The cool thing about duels, duelling is really
addictive. Bismarck, I think, when he was a student, he was also addicted to duelling. He would walk- Bit unfair though: six 14″ guns against a
man with a sword. Well, no. He’d walk around the street, wearing two cudgels, six pistols and two swords and a dressing gown. And he’d wander around, going,
“Yeah, fight me. Fight me. I’m Bismarck.” That’s a very different Big Lebowski,
isn’t it? Duelling, once it got later, was a really
formal event. – Yes.
– What would they be wearing? You’re normally just in a shirt, aren’t you,
as I understand it? No, we’re talking,
for this at least, much later. This is German military, 19th century. Oh, your full kit, no doubt. Armour? Well, you wouldn’t be in armour. They wouldn’t have armour at that point. You’d have a breastplate. Well, wasn’t the early German thing that you
duelled, growing up, or you fenced, growing up, to get good gnarly
scars, didn’t they? Yes, you’re absolutely right. They would fight with a mask and a thick scarf,
so you couldn’t- Ah, so that you could only get this bit. You could only get that bit. So it was essentially ritual scarification. Awesome. Scars were judged by Otto von Bismarck
to be a sign of bravery. Men’s courage could be judged –
and there’s a quote here – “by the number of scars on their cheeks”. Oh, cracking. I’m well away. Did he specify which cheeks? How would you duel? I’ve just got this image of the sword…. “Oh, I see. I’ve got a very wrong idea about this.” I’ve just got two men
backing up against each other, with a sword, kind of, “Thunk. Thunk.” Only one end of the sword would go, “thunk.” The other one would go… It’s marvellous, the thought of Bismarck stood
there in his dressing gown, cudgels, hand grenades and cannons, and someone else reverses bent over,
round the corner. “Well, we’re doing it this way. Fair enough. “I’ve never been beaten by a more worthy adversary.” At which point, it turns out the guy’s got
a cannon up there. Er, yes, scars, for God’s sake(!) Scars were usually targeted to the left profile. Okay. Oh, look at you with your, “I’m handsome for
19th century warring Germany” face. You know what? I’ll take that. I will take that. It does explain the haircut. And the Pickelhaube. Can we have a big thing that goes across the
bottom of the screen that says, “Do not try this at home?” Yes, I think… “unless someone has insulted you and you want
a duel? “In which case, that’s fine, but remember,
we mean the other cheeks. “Yeah?” So yes, going back, pre-French Revolution, back to Julie, Oh, yeah! Who duelled by stabbing someone with a sword. This doesn’t sound much like a duel. This more sounds like a very quick stabbing. She was a very good duellist, by all accounts. Well, excellent, obviously, yeah. He was Louis-Joseph d’Albert de Luynes,
son of the Duke of Luynes. “He killed my father. Prepare to die.” Quite the opposite. One of his companions came to offer his apologies. “He resurrected my father? “Prepare to live?” Okay, when I say the opposite, I mean in more
general terms. It was more that they certainly weren’t enemies
after this. Is there more about…
just before we go onto this guy, is there more about him, other than this incident? Because I would hate to be, myself, one of
those people in history that’s only remembered as being the guy that
got stabbed through a shoulder, and potentially stuck to a tree, by that lady that pretended to be a nun, who sang opera, that burnt the convent down. ‘Cos that’s not a great way to be remembered,
let’s face it. For one thing, you can’t write all that on
just the one tombstone. Yeah, both sides. There is not another reference in here. This appears to be the one reference to the
man in history. “How do they remember me?
…oh, you’re kidding. Come on!” If it hadn’t been that, he would have been
remembered for being the innately hilarious son of the Duke of Loins! …I’m probably mispronouncing that. I’m choosing to believe you’re not! It’s L-U-Y-N-E-S. So if there’s any French speakers in here
who can… Loins!. Loins it is then. Duke of Loins. There’s no advance from the audience. What happened, though, after he recovered? And, by the way, and after he sent his apologies? Oh, good man. I imagine he went, “Ow,” quite frequently,
for a while. Did his golf take some time to recover? Was there physiotherapy involved? Is this back to swording as an artless euphemism? Did they marry? You’re closer, yes. They never married, but they became lovers,
and, later, lifelong friends. How can you…! “Oh, remember that time
I stabbed you in the shoulder?” “Ah, that’s how we met!” Works for me. I’m going to point out, she is still in her
late teens at this point. That’s nails. We are not in the section, yet, that says,
‘Adult Life.’ You know when you’re at home and you think
to yourself, “How is my life going?” Do you ever hear articles like this and think, “I have not achieved enough in life?” Well, how old was she? Late teens? By 19, at no point had I tried to burn a convent
down with a corpse inside it. She is somewhere between 17 and 20 at this
point, but we don’t know if- Oh, well, that’s different. By 19, I was all about that, yes. She was hired by the Paris Opera. In full knowledge that she was pretty handy
while she was doing it. Oh, no, as a doorman! Can you just imagine when she got appointed
at the opera, the CRB check she must’ve had
when she got in? “What do we have? “Well, a little bit of shoplifting when you
were 12. “I’m sure that’s all done now… “Burning down a convent and stealing a body
to burn down said convent, now that was not-” She only set the room on fire;
she didn’t burn down the entire convent. Oh, well that’s alright then. Five years later,
she’s still the talk of Paris. She’s still well known-
thank you for those effects. At a society ball, there was a scandal. Turned up as a bloke. Left with a woman. Reverted to being a woman. Burnt the place down when somebody said, “Oi.” One of those things is right, but it was a broad, blunderbuss attempt there. So let’s try Gary. Singing opera. Throws sword. Stabs man. Room on fire. None of those. So based on those two- Come on, Will. She pretended to be a doctor. And she went around the ballroom, going, “Everyone here has a terrible disease! “You must all come with me.” What I like about it, in my imagination, she’s dressed as an opera singer. She’s got swords down each leg, so she’s a
bit stiff in walking, and has a stethoscope. Chris, you actually said vaguely the right
words there. She kissed a young woman at a society ball. What happened immediately after that? She had a duel with the entire society ball. Yes, she was challenged to duels by
three separate noblemen, so I’ll give you a point for that. What did she do that night? Er, beat them all in duels. What was illegal in Paris, at that point? Duelling more than two people in an evening. It was considered greedy. Just duelling, in particular. So she now has to flee Paris, because she’s
also wanted there. Mate, I’d say Marseilles now. I think we’re going there. I think she went to Marseilles! Brussels. Re-joins the opera, and the final years of
her career here were spent in a relationship with, well, who? Anyone brave enough. Madame la Marquise de Florensac. I’m, again, butchering all the French in here. Well, that’s what she was doing with the swords,
to be honest. That’s taken time. That’s excellent. Ugly four that just reached the rope, yeah. On her death, she was inconsolable. She retired from the opera, and then took
refuge where? Not a convent…? She died at the age of 33, has no known grave,
and is a legendary figure. That window needs just a gentle tap
on it now, doesn’t it? With a point of a sword, just to come through… So at the end of the show,
congratulations Will, you win this one. Yay! You win a Greek philosopher’s
Mexican salamander speed control. Oh! Aristotle axolotl something throttle. Yes! An Aristotle axolotl throttle. Congratulations, Will. With that, we say thank you to Chris Joel, to Gary Brannan, to Will Seaward. I’ve been Tom Scott,
and we’ll see you next time. Goodnight!

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