On the road south, Madame de Maupin and Sérannes made a living by giving fencing exhibitions and singing in taverns and at local fairs. While travelling and performing in these impromptu shows, Maupin dressed in male clothing but did not conceal her gender. On arrival in Marseille, she joined the opera company run by Pierre Gaultier, singing under her maiden name.
Eventually, she grew bored of Sérannes and became involved with a young woman. When the girl’s parents put her away in the Visitandines convent in Avignon, Maupin followed, entering the convent as a postulate. In order to run away with her new love, she stole the body of a dead nun, placed it in the bed of her lover, and set the room on fire to cover their escape. Their affair lasted for three months before the young lady returned to her family. Maupin was charged in absentia—as a male—with kidnapping, body snatching, arson, and failing to appear before the tribunal. The sentence was death by fire.
Maupin left for Paris and again earned her living by singing. Near Poitiers, she met an old actor named Maréchal who began to teach her until his alcoholism got worse and he sent her on her way to Paris.
In Villeperdue, still wearing men’s clothing, she was insulted by a young nobleman. They fought a duel and she drove her blade through his shoulder. The next day, she asked about his health and found out he was Louis-Joseph d’Albert Luynes, son of the Duke of Luynes. Later, one of his companions came to offer d’Albert’s apologies. She went to his room and subsequently they became lovers and, later, lifelong friends.
She settled down for a while in Paris. And then…
Her Paris career was interrupted around 1695, when she kissed a young woman at a society ball and was challenged to duels by three different noblemen. She beat them all, but fell afoul of the king’s law that forbade duels in Paris. She fled to Brussels to wait for calmer times. There, she was briefly the mistress of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria.
She died at the age of 33. Only 33! And what a lively life to have lived.
Where is the movie treatment? There seems to be stuff in French, and a couple of books, but oh, man — I don’t want to see another Batman or Spider-man movie, but a big-budget blockbuster about Julie d’Aubigny would get me to the theater.