Saturday, December 24, 2011
It is Curious
It is admittedly puzzling that Louise Elisabeth Bisquith-Disdain (nee Lefebvre) managed to survive the French Revolution despite having been guillotined.
Some insist this is why she wore such elaborate necklaces, such memorable scarves, chokers, etc.
This woman was a brilliant scientist in her own right, every bit her husband's equal.
While still in Paris and in her twenties, she created an amazingly lifelike automaton that was a nearly perfect duplicate of herself, one capable of tailoring devastating insults and directing them at whoever was acting as the mannequin's interlocutor at the time.
"Rude Little Madame," as the automaton came to be known throughout much of Europe, was convincingly dressed, coiffed and animated.
It is known the automaton toured several continents without its maker, but after the French Revolution it becomes difficult to trace the simulacrum's movements with any degree of certainty (with the exception of the year 1809, referenced below).
One historian is convinced the automaton actually married and retired into domesticity, and another admits he is "half-convinced" this is true.
Some questioned Madame Bisquith-Disdain's discretion in making this automaton in her own image, but she made it clear this was a funny poignard directed at the Book of Genesis.
Many scientists left The Merciful Bones with their feelings and amour-propre hurt. A gazette of the day notifies us that Rude Little Madame was in residence at the mansion in the year 1809. The article does, however, hint at future travels planned for the shrewish automaton. And she could not be found on the estate after the family's complete and utter disappearance.
Most of France believed Madame Lefebvre (as they knew her) to be long dead at the time of her mysterious disappearance.
Perhaps there is more than a little truth in her family's (Old Country) motto that "The finality of Death is for groundhogs."
Or course, the original is in Latin and this is a loose translation: Finalitatis mures mortis est.