Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
As these letters were written to her
by Mons. Caillaux, cabinet member
and premier, before she Inarried him,
and while she was another man's
wife, filled with their avowals of love
love sought and given-rMme. Cail
laux had every reason to dread the
opinion of the world. Frenchmen
can't keep from mixing politics and
love; not even in their letters.,
But the real reason for the mur
der was not the publication of those
And now it is necessary to go back
some years in the madame's life. She
was a poor, handsome girl, a poor
lawyer's daughter, but she was am
bitious she wanted to climb. She
met Leo Claretie, a brilliant writer
who had entrance to smart and aris
tocratic salons. There was no doubt
about their relations, but the hand
some girl was a good manager and
in two or three years Claretie mar
She had gained her entrance to the
A few years later Claretie divorced
her. Paris society full well knew
Mme. Claretie, with her chic, her
grace, her extraordinary coolness
under all circumstances, had become
intimately acquainted with M. Joseph
Caillaux, the brilliant son of a former
royalist minister of France, an aris
tocrat who passed as a grande bour
geois, very intelligent, very able, very
M. Caillaux is known to Parisians
as Babre Bleu (Blue Beard), a man
of many wives; known too as a No
ceur (a man taken up with women).
Jealous of his wife's fair fame Leo
Claretie protested the acquaintance,
but to no purpose. Theoretically it
was to be a platonic friendship. Some
highly spiced, affectionate letters
they then wrote. Among them were
the '"Ton Jo" (thy own Jo) letters,
the publication of which drove Mme.
Caillaux to Calmette's editorial office
with desperation in her heart and
murder in her muff.
In 1908 the Clareties were divorced.
Then followed three years of ques
tionable living; the ex-iMme. Claretie
was believed to bedeeply concerned
with French politics; was suspected
of being interested in international
Long before her civil marriage to
Caillaux the one time Mme. Claretie
was recognized as the minister's
affinity. It was no secret. A Cath
olic, but divorced, she could not be
married with a religious rite. A civil
ceremony apparently meant little to
But in December, 1911, when Cail
laux became prime .minister, their
nondescript relation was legalized.
It was Mme. Caillaux's second mar
riage; her husband's third. Her hus
band and his wives were still living.
Leo Claretie, the aggrieved hus
band, now a staff writer on "Figaro,"
was a close friend of Caillaux's most
bitter enemy, Gaston Calmette, editor
When Mme. Claretie became Mme.
Caillaux, "Figaro" inaugurated such
a vicious campaign against the prime
minister as has rarely been equalled
even in the "Apache press" of Paris.
"I lived in an atmosphere of hos
tility," moans Mme. Caillaux in her
cell; "I feared to open 'Figaro'; I felt v
my best friends growing cold to me."
That is one of her reasons for kill
Another and by far the more con
vincing one the one I unearthed in
the whispering woman's world of
Paris society, in that Mme. Caillaux
shot down in cold blood the enemy of
her husband because Caillaux was
about to divorce her his wife the
present murderess, to marry Mme.
Ballot (as a fourth wife).
Who is Mme. Ballot?
She was the mistress of Gaston
Calmette, the "Figaro" editor, a
young and attractive Parisian butter
fly, possessing a superabundance of