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THE MASKED WOMAN, ANOTHER PHASE. Recently Madame Crespin du Gast's case against the famous lawyer, Maître Bar- boux, came before the Eleventh Cham- ber of Correctional Police. As will be re- membered, the advocate mentioned dur- ing recent proceedings, in which he acted for Madame du Gast's relatives, who are at law with her, showed to the court a photograph of the "Femme au Masque," by Gervex, which caused a sensation in the Salon of the Champs Elysées some years ago. The woman with the mask was completely undraped, and stood be- fore a mirror. Madame du Gast took strong objection in court to the produc- tion of this photograph, and entered pro- ceedings against the lawyer. M. Gervex, the painter, being called upon recently by a news investigator, stated that his model for the "Femme au Masque" was not Madame du Gast, but Marie Renard, a young woman who lives quietly with her mother in the Rue Notre Dame de Lorette. All this led to the proceedings in the Eleventh Correctional Chamber to- day, but people who went to the court were disappointed, for there was little else but wrangling over points of law. It is forbidden to report libel or defama- tion proceedings, so that the case must be taken in a general way. The principal attraction at the court was the presence of Madame Crespin du Gast herself. She was the most fascinat- ing figure in a rather prosaic picture. She entered court shortly before noon with her lawyer, M. Firmin Fhire, a Nationalist Deputy, and took her seat in front of the bench with complete composure. The lady, who was simply dressed in black, is a tall blonde of the matured type, and thoroughly looks what she is by tempera- ment - a free, fearless, and advanced woman. Left a widow with large means, Madame du Gast does what she likes, and cares for nobody. She is a splendid musician and vocalist, and might nave made a name as a prima-donna had she been so inclined. She is an accom- plished rider, cyclist, and motor-woman. She has taken part in the great inter- national auto-car races with the Renaults, the Edges, the Furmans, and the rest of the remarkable runners. She fences like a Pini, and it is even hinted that she is by no means clumsy with the gloves. Add to this the fact that she is inclined towards literature; that she has gone down in a mine and worked with the pick and shovel: that she has been several times up in balloons; and that she keeps in an urn part of the ashes of General Marceau, who fell at Altenkirchen in the wars of the Revolution, and you will have to admit her to be a most remarkable modern woman. This is the lady who is now defying an eminent lawyer, and who is able to con- duct her own case if necessary. Her op- ponent, Maître Barboux. who wanted to make out that she was the "Femme au Masque," is a smart-looking old gentle- man of sixty-seven, who moves with lighter steps than many a young barrister fresh from the school of law. In spite of advancing years he seems thoroughly fit, and shows no signs of breaking up. He is what is termed an "enfant de la basoche,' for his father was a lawyer before him. Ere he became an advocate of the Appeal Court, Maître Barboux was a clerk in a lawyer's office, and so he knows thorough- ly all the secrets of the profession. He acted for Sarah Bernhardt in her case against the Comedie Française; he has been retained in many causes celebres; and he defended M. de Lesseps and his son in the Panama affair. In the plea he handed in to the Court to-day, Maître Barboux, after having quoted from the Law of Libel of 1S41, which excludes faithful re- ports of trials and speeches made before Tribunals from the radius of defamatory actions, the advocate sought to make out that Madame Crespin du Gast's demand should be rejected by the Court. Here is practically what he added: If Madame du Gast considered her- self to have been libelled by what I said in the case brought against her by her father and her brother, whom I repre- sented, she ought to have at once de- manded that the Tribunal should note and retain the "fait diffamatoire," or li- bellous fact. She did not, however, do so, nor was she advised in that sense by her counsel. It was true that she protested about the matter at issue, but that was not enough. Then she re- mained prudently silent for months. As to himself, he could not go back, for it would be like giving up the case of his clients, Madame du Gast's father and brother, who assured him of the truth of the fact which he had brought for- ward. Mr Firmin Faure was now called upon by the President to reply, but he gave way before his fair client, who wanted to address the court herself. She was told that her counsel would do the de- fence better, but the lady insisted, say- ing that she wanted to let the court know why she had not asked the libel- lous fact to be noted at the last proceed- ings. That was because she was brow- beaten by the judge. She was insulted for five hours by Maître Barboux, and then, when she asked leave to reply, she was threatened with expulsion from the court. As she went on Madame du Gast became more excited, and complained that she was treated in a cowardly and shameful manner, because she was a lone widow. Then, turning to Maître Barboux, she asked him if he retracted. There was no reply, whereupon the lady said, "This silence is an avowal. The insult is public, and I only wanted a private letter of apology. Maître Bar- boux, in my estimation, now leaves this court tarnished and dishonored." After some further remarks from the widow, her lawyer was heard, and the Tribunal declared that Madame Veuve Crespin du Gast had no case against Maître Barboux, advocate of the Appeal Court, and ordered that the complain- ant should pay the costs. There was another development in the "Femme au Masque" affair this afternoon. Maître Barboux, on leaving the Palais de Justice, went to his residence on the Quai de la Megisserie, and as he was entering it, according to one account, he was ac- costed by M. Helie de Talleyrang Perigord, now also called the Prince de Sagan, who assaulted him. The lawyer had left the Palais de Justice by a private way, as he knew that Madame du Gast and her friends were in a very excited state after the decision of the Correctional Court. The lady was, in fact, walking about the place waiting for Maître Barboux to appear, and she loudly remarked, as she did not see him coming, that he was afraid to face her. She then went to her carriage outside the Palais, escorted by a lot of people, who were evidently on the look-out for a lively scene. M. Helie de Talleyrand Perigord was with Madame du Gast at the time, and when he saw armorial emblazonments he ran back to the court. The Prince de Sagan expected to meet Maître Barboux, but that lawyer had already gone to his residence on the quay mentioned. The Prince, on hearing this, rushed in the direc- tion of the advocate's residence, and, meet- ing Maitre Barboux at the entrance, he called him an insulter of women, and struck him in the face. The assailant then gave his card to the lawyer, who simply said, "Very good, you shall hear from me!" Maître Barboux says this evening that a scout was sent to watch him entering his house, and that his person pointed him out to the Prince de Sagan, who fell on him like a "trombe" or waterspout. The advocate affirms that he does not intend to fight his assailant, but will take proceedings against him. Maître Barboux, as already noted, is no longer a young man, although very active, and he has, in any case, passed the fighting age, so he prefers the legal way of obtaining satisfaction. Apropos of this exciting episode, Madame du Gast is represented as hav- ing said in the course of a conversation that she had intended to administer cor- rection to Maître Barboux with a horse whip, which she had concealed in her parasol. But Maître Barboux had taken his precautions, and was accompanied from the lobby of the Palais de Justice to his carriage by detectives, so that she could not approach him. A number of people who left with her declared that she had the right on her side, adding
that the affair could not end thus, and they were not mistaken. Later on, in- deed, the Prince de Sagan called on her with the announcement that he had slapped M. Barboux's face. "What!" she cried, "you have done that?" "I have, so your honor is avenged," re- plied the prince, who went on to tell how it happened. "This is what occurred. I left the Palais and followed M. Barboux. He went into his house, 14 Quai de la Megisserie, and soon left it, in company with a servant. He was getting into a carriage when I gave him two slaps. We were separated, and as Maître Barboux asked my name, I told him. An hour after I sent my card to his house." Madame du Gast added that this was the account exactly as it had been given to her, and she exclaimed, in conclusion, "As I cannot summon Maître Barboux every fortnight, I shall stop at this point, declaring myself well content with what the Prince de Sagan has done." Maitre Barboux has, it is said, now left Paris for the country."