Conclusion: Giving the Lie
On December 2, 1911 a small notice appeared in Le Rappel de Toulouse, the Radical-Socialist paper, for which Ly’s adversary Prudent Massat had held the editorship for less than a year. The staff tersely alerted the public to Massat’s hasty resignation from the direction of Le Rappel. For the paper’s readers, and indeed any locals who had followed the amusing succession of heavily publicized affaires d’honneur in which Massat had become entangled over the previous few months, this news could have come as no surprise. Immediately after he had been persuaded by members of the Toulouse press to resolve the Ly-Massat conflict to the feminist’s advantage, Massat found himself confronted by a number of public challenges to his masculine and professional reputation. One of these perceived insults issued from the pen of his socialist adversary and editor-in-chief of Le Midi socialiste, Vincent Auriol, on the day following the September 2 meeting. In addition to publishing a merciless account of Ly’s public humiliation of Massat, Auriol accused his political rival of running a smear campaign against the Toulousain socialists that dishonored the journalistic profession.2 This was at best a questionable pretext for a duel, considering that the staff of both papers had long made mutual character-assassination their principal stock-in-trade. The local press immediately saw through Massat’s pretense, interpreting his impulsive provocation of Auriol as an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation following Ly’s branding of him as a coward.3 As all parties involved seemed to understand, Massat’s masculine credentials had been severely undermined by his unprecedented granting of “satisfaction” to a woman in the extralegal system of honor.
KeywordsSingle Woman Honor Code Public Justice French Woman Home Front
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