While researching this story, I never expected to discover how Jane and Etienne met. As a biographer, much of the narrative you construct is deduction or ‘best guess’ based on incomplete facts or hearsay.
Occasionally though, you stumble on an anecdote that brings the elusive story vividly to life. I had this moment last night when I found this…
An adventure somewhat equivalent occurred some time ago to the Baron de Pierres who has become since the first squire of the Empress Eugénie and who, at this particular (earlier) time, possessed a racing stable. He had a horse called Pantalon, who, while engaged in the Prix races, had attracted the attention of the charming daughter of Colonel Thorn, a brilliant character who occupied a significant place in the Parisian world and regarding who you can consult a number of pages by Guêpes d’Alphonse Karr. Madame Thorn expressed to her father her strong desire to have this horse at one of the Prix. The Colonel, consequently, entered into immediate negotiations with the Baron de Pierres. The Baron, while showing the utmost courtesy, declined the proposition at first, then following the insistence of the Colonel, finished by saying to him : “Eh bien! I declare to you that this horse will never belong to anyone other than the Baroness de Pierres.“ The exclamation was taken at its word and the negotiations continued along a different path, leading Pantalon to the stables of the lovely Americanness, who became a Baroness.
Subsequent to finding the anecdote above, I discovered information that added more context to the story:
Pantalon belonged in origin to Colonel Thorn, who had ceded the horse to one of his daughters at birth. However, the foal, in growing, appeared so mediocre to the Colonel that he sold him at auction. A distinguished sportsman, Monsieur de Pierres, judged to the contrary of the Colonel, and bought Pantalon.
One year or eighteen months later, Monsieur Thorn could hear of nothing other than the victories of Pantalon. He saw him race and wanted to purchase him back. But M. de Pierres was inflexible. No offer could convince him. M de Pierres loved Pantalon and did not want to give him away. Moreover, Mademoiselle Thorn, her father having disposed of Pantalon without her consent, was pained and missed Pantalon.
And a day arrived where the Baron de Pierres married Mademoiselle Thorn.
It makes more sense to me now that the Thorn’s were so interested in this particular horse.