Two men gaze at each other in the crush of Paris-Brussels.
Elegant, slender, they look alike.
The first is barely out of adolescence and has just won his first sword duel to defend the honor of his mother, Sarah Bernhardt.
The other is a prince with graying temples, Henri de Ligne.
For a season of balls, Sarah and Henri loved each other during the actress' brief exile in Belgium.
But when Maurice was born of this passion, the prince was careful not to recognize the child.
There are the women you marry, and the women you have fun with.
Actress, demi-mondaine, daughter of a cocotte, born of an unknown father, of Jewish origin and stateless: a ditch, what am I saying an abyss, separates Sarah from the heir of the princes of Ligne, the greatest lords of this new country called Belgium.
Out of delicacy, the Lignes did not want to become kings, so a little cadet from the Saxe-Coburgs was placed on the throne of the Belgians.
But it is they who reign over the gotha.
Read alsoMarch 26, 1923: the death of Sarah Bernhardt, “the Divine”
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