Who are you, a diplomat, a mason, a spy? Man or woman? The question is open
This strange man - a mystery still confuses the minds of people. He was bored of living without attention, enthusiasm and a rally; a great adventurer with acting skills managed to become a spy. A profession that does not require fame and scandalous attention. Incredible diplomat who left France as a man and returned as a woman. In 1762, he was a diplomat, a spy in the service of the French king, a captain, a dragoon, and a man. When he returned in July 1777, at the age of 49, she was like a celebrity, a writer, an intellectual, and a woman. His name was Chevalier d'Eon.
Londoners made a bet in the amount of 280 thousand pounds in order to determine the floor of Chevalier - by the way, it was very frustrating for him. The popular Soviet writer Valentin Pikul dedicated to him one of his most famous novels, "Pen and Sword", where he described the participation of this adventurer in the preparation of the forged testament of Peter the Great.
Charles Genevieve Louis Auguste Andre Timote d'Eon de Beaumont was born on October 5, 1728 in France in a poor noble family ... a son or is it a daughter?
Here the discrepancies already begin - d’Eon wrote that he was born a girl, but his mean-grandfather promised to write off his fortune to the heirs on the terms of the boy's birth. Therefore, parents crossed the little Charlotte in Charles and raised him boyishly.
True, in another work, Chevalier stated the opposite: in fact he was a boy, but his mother dreamed of a daughter, and therefore she dressed him in dresses. Like a sin, Charles was small and fragile.
At the same time, his peers, teasing him, quickly learned that the temper of this “girl” was pugnacious, and his fists were surprisingly firm.
In Paris, the College d’Eon became not only the first student, but also a fencing master, headman of the school team of rapiers.
At 21, he graduated with a law degree and was assigned to the tax department.
Missing in the service, he became interested in writing: his book on the financial policy of France attracted the attention of King Louis XV himself, who was puzzled over the filling of the quickly emptying treasury.
Then you can put a description of his espionage feats, but alas, most of them - fiction.At least that's what serious historians say.
Professor Gary Cates of Pomona College, one of the first modern academics, carefully studied the life of Chevalier d’Eon, and the conclusion is: Monsieur d'Eon is a woman.
Cates had access to d'Eon's personal papers, a treasure trove of manuscripts, diaries, documents, and letters posted at the University of Leeds, which are considered the most complete collection, allowed the professor to look into the matter.
Cates narrates a complex narrative involving intrigues, secrets, espionage rings, political necessity, and nascent feminism. Many modern trans groups have named themselves in honor of d'Eon.
However, Cates warns that the story of this fascinating figure is far from complete. This is a man who lived so violently and mysteriously that his adventures would last for three lives.
But there is another point of view, more researchers are inclined to it. In the translation of I. A. Sosphenova, the biography of Beaumarchais, written by René de Castre, was published.
In it we read the following description of the bearer d'Eon: "He was of medium height, with fine features, rather rounded shapes and a thin beard, spoke in falsetto, and no one had ever heard of his love affairs."You, chaste, as Lucretius ..." - wrote to him his friend Türke de Mayern.
Modern sexology would have found a complete lack of temperament in Chevalier d'Eon and would have diagnosed him with Aeonism.
This mental disorder, called just by its name, is observed in males with weakly expressed sexuality, they feel more like women, but they do not always have a craving for homosexuality.
King Louis XV
In the women's dress, d'Eon felt like a fish in water and adored these disguises. There was even a legend that once, at a masquerade, Louis XV himself took him for a girl and tried to look after him.
As the modern Russian historian Yevgeny Anisimov writes, "in the summer of 1775, the Chevalier Mackenzie Douglas was sent to Petersburg." The Versailles court sent an Englishman, not a Frenchman, deliberately, in order to circle the finger of the Russian Chancellor Bestuzhev-Rumin and his people.
“The anti-French position of the Chancellor was so violent that he did not allow any Frenchman to come to St. Petersburg,” testifies Evg. Anisimov.
"According to the legend, - says the St. Petersburg historian,- on his first visit to Russia, Douglas brought with him his niece Lia de Beaumont and, returning to Paris, left the girl in the care of friends. Vorontsov introduced the young creation to the court.
Empress, gregarious to all French, liked the girl. Soon she became a maid of honor and lived in the same room as the young Countess Ekaterina Vorontsova (in marriage, the famous Princess Dashkova).
And suddenly a terrible moment came - Leah told her friend Katenka, and then the empress, that she was not a girl at all, but a man, Douglas's associate, and that the whole dressing operation was needed only to enter the palace and inform the Empress about the passionate the intention of Louis XV to restore relations with Russia.
Elizabeth was delighted with the clever Frenchman’s tricks and sent him to Paris with the news that she was opening her arms to the most Christian of the kings.
All this is fiction, except for the fact that Douglas was accompanied by a secretary to the Chevalier d'Eon on his second visit to Russia in 1756. "
Having lived to a respectable age, the Chevalier continued his career as a swordsman, until an awkward lunge of the student did not cut the muscles in his right arm.The remaining years he lived on a meager pension and handouts of the few remaining emigrant friends. Here is a fact confirmed by numerous recollections of eyewitnesses:
1787 The second day of Easter. English nobles are going to watch the "amusing" duel of two fencers. The outcome of the fight seems to be predetermined.
The challenger — a 20-year-old, six feet tall — is beautifully built and, despite his youth, has a reputation as a skilled swordsman.
His opponent is Chevalier d'Eon, a short, sturdy Frenchman, almost three times older. But this is not the strangest thing. D'Eon is dressed in a woman's dress with three lower skirts, and on his head is a ladies' bonnet.
In the end, d'Eon wins without difficulty.
As you can see, his name is shrouded in legends, his work was really secret and not so easy to read, despite the abundance of documents left by the chevalier after his death. Yes, a mysterious figure. No generation will yet study it. Well, I like almost all the portraits of Chevalier, which I gladly laid out.
Perhaps d’Eon would have been forgotten forever, if not an unexpected find. In the late spring of 2012, the portrait of the lady in a hat with a feather that was considered missing was found in a private collection.
The largest British painter Philip Mold found that the portrait, painted from life by the Englishman Thomas Stewart, depicts d’Eon.
And since Thomas Stewart painted exclusively theater actors, it can be assumed that there was another and, it seems, the most mysterious page in the life of d’Eon — related to theater.