Monday, September 30, 2013

My favorite picture of my brothers

Billy, Donnie, Michael, Jimmy, Jerry

Kitty

My mother's Oct. 2, 1965 diary entry describes how Jimmy called Kitty, my mother's college roommate, at her job at the State Dept., collect, from school, and told her "Mom is alright, at least on the outside." but that she needed her and could she come down?  He must've sweet talked a nun at Norfolk Catholic into letting him use the Father Dornan's (?) phone.  Kitty told Mom she never need worry about that boy.  That turned out to be true.  Jimmy is about as capable and independent as they come. 

 By Oct. 2, Kitty had already come down from DC to VB once since Dad had been shot down in mid-July and was to stay with us many times during those years.  As you can see, by Feb, '70 (actually this was taken at Christmas and not developed until Feb.,) Kitty could persuade Mom to laugh once in awhile.


We were a festive crowd.

This was one of several taken for a newspaper article.

The Joys of Freedom

This is my favorite picture of my mother during these days.  Except the one in the car with Dad, below and the one of them walking in front of the hospital. That is pure joy on her face.  She's hugging Mary Cary Carver, one of her closest friends, who'd been at her side through thick and thin.  And, I love that her Naval Academy engagement ring is on her left hand.

The posts on this topic continue on the next page.  Click "Older Posts," below, to see video and pictures of Dad's return to our home in King's Grant.  Blogspot can't handle the volume of my venting on one page.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

This speaks for itself

At last, on February 12, 1973, American POWs were released.  My father was the spokesman for the first group to land on free soil.  We didn't know, in advance, that that would be the case, but were, of course, gathered around the television with family and friends.  My mother always reminded me of how I watched, rocking back and forth in the chair, with my arms crossed across my stomach.  It was kind of emotional, to say the least.  Besides my own father, we watched the fathers and husbands of other POW families that we had grown to know and love over those eight years.  Surreal.

Next Stop: Hawaii


The night Dad arrived at Norfolk Naval Air Station - Branwen's letter to her mother

My sister-in-law, Branwen's, letter to her mother, dated Feb. 19, 1973, chronicles those days well...






Dear Mother,

We have been so busy that I just haven’t had a chance to write – but I knew you would be anxious for news so I took the first opportunity (after finishing a short book) to write. 

Well, he’s back – and no words can describe the joy of the homecoming.  Don and I watched the arrival in the Phillapines (sp?) on T.V. Monday morning at 3:30 and were really knocked out when he was the first one off the plane.  Don kept saying “I don’t believe it.” Apparently, afterwards they had a special on his family, but we were so tired from lack of sleep that we passed out and missed it. We left Key West the next evening and spent the night at Margo’s. Tuesday we drove like mad because, by this time we knew that he would be home in a matter of days and we were afraid we’d get to Va. too late to meet the plane.  It was out of the question to stop in Fort Lauderdale or Jacksonville.  As it was we made it Wed night with 4 hours to spare. The snow and road conditions in South Carolina were truly amazing. We couldn’t go faster than 30 mph. 

He came down at about 2:30 a.m. at the Norfolk Naval Airport and there was a large crowd there and a lot of newsmen.  Jane was nearly hysterical and so was everyone else.  He was very brief when he got off the plane (last breaking the tradition of the 3 previous landings in the Phillapines, Hawaii and San Francisco) – following Capt. Jim Mulligan and Lt. Paul Galanty.  He thanked people from coming out in the cold at that late hour to see him, then embraced Jane and all the kids including Winship, Jerry’s wife,  (Winship was so nervous – she kept saying “she felt nauseated  and how bad she would feel if she threw up when they introduced her). We went to the Portsmouth Naval Hospital with the other families (the Mulligans have 6 long-haired hulking sons) in a car caravan of about 10 cars plus 6 police cars. We visited in his room (which has color T.V. and a two room suite with bath) until about 6:00 A.M.  We’ve been back for the past 4 days visiting.  Jane has been there all week – just coming home for clothing (once). 

He looks pretty good, considering what he’s been through (hell). They say he is about 15 lbs lighter and his eyes are sunken – he now requires glasses to read with, but he really looks o.k. Health is good. I’m not allowed right now to repeat most of what he told us and they are afraid of the N. Vietnamese taking retaliation action on the remaining prisoners if conditions are discussed and made public. I know you can understand that.  The reunion was truly amazing. He cried and cried and so did nearly everyone else except for Jane who laughed a lot. He asked all the children questions and apologized to each of them for something he did to them in the past.  He was wonderful to Winship and I and cried when he welcomed us to the family. While he was there he was very aware of the conditions in which the people live and was shocked at the comparison between their lives and the affluence in this country and is planning a book - to be written immediately, based of the 7 parts of the Lord’s Prayer and appealing to humanity or the U.S. to be more altruistic. (Another thing he talked about was the family home he planned (board by board) when he was in prison.  It will be on water – probably in Florida and be a “headquarters” for everyone with horses, boats, etc. Another thing he is obsessed with is teacher his children geography.  It was funny to see him,  a  few days after his release crawling around on the floor with an orange (we brought from Key West) explaining the revolution of the earth around the sun and its affect on the season, time, sunset. Etc. He might be a dean at Tulane.  He can lecture for hours and it’s always interesting.  He is really an amazing man with an amazing mind, and funny! He did great imitations of his captors and gave them all nick names, (Slick, Mickey Mouse, etc.) He isn’t bitter against his captors, or the Anti-war movement here – he hates no one and is amazingly tolerant. This is really amazing when you know what he went through. He is very happy with everyone in his family (except he is very worried about Billy) and we are all extremely proud of him.  When all is said and done about this war – he is going to emerge as its No. 1 hero. Just watch.

He had wonderful things to say to everyone - and meant them.  Don was so happy when he put his arms around both of us and said he was very proud of us and glad that we were great enough not to worry about all that “prestige stuff”  and that “Pat Nixon waited on tables in a diner.” Don has been worried about that, since his mother is so disapproving. He and Jane thanked you for your wonderful letter – they said it moved them both. He says that now you are the most prestigious member of the family (referring to your PHD).  He said that when they got all the pictures of our wedding and were passing them around the camp everyone commented on how attractive his “wife-in-law” was. Anyway – as you can see- this has been an incredible experience for us all. 

Jane Tshudy’s husband (he was Capt. Denton’s co-pilot) came home Saturday night. I am so glad – she is very sweet and so happy now.  When we were at the hospital Sunday Capt. Denton nearly fainted and had to be put to bed – he has been pushing himself and wearing himself out all week and it all finally caught up with him. He will be all right – he is just exhausted and might be there for another month. 

The reaction from people has been overwhelming. The phone didn’t stop ringing for days – mostly calls from people they didn’t even know and half the time they just cry. They are stacks and stacks of letters and telegrams most of them addressed “Capt. J.A. Denton, Virginia Beach, VA.”  There must be hundreds of dollars worth of flowers here and in the hospital.  Don and I have been holding down the fort while Jane lives at the hospital but I haven’t had to cook anything hardly because the freezer is full of meat loafs, casseroles, cake, ice cream, etc., sent by friends and neighbors. The crowning touch was a box sent from Mobile Alabama air mail Special D. (It had $40 worth of stamps on it) containing at least 50 lbs of steaks and Filet Mignons, and Rib Eye and Tenderloin. It was from a high school friend of Capt. Denton’s.

Our plans are really up in the air. We won’t leave before another 2½ months at the earliest.  We will probably be living with a friend of Don’s or get our own apartment.  We might substitute teach for a change just to break the monotony -  if we can make enough money. 

My fingers are sore so I’ll sign off. Love Branwen
PS. He spent a lot of time in prison looking at a map and can now give the exact latitude and longitude (almost exact) and time of sunrise and sunset of our country,   in the world, and most cities. Amazing!

P.P.S. You wouldn’t believe the food they get the hospital – Oysters, lobster, Filet Mignon, etc.

"Mama Mia! I saw you again in a close up on TV and I have plans."

Mail poured in from America and beyond, some addressed simply "Jeremiah Denton, Virginia Beach."  Mom gave me some, like this one, that she felt would particularly interest me. I have one from Nancy Goode, a friend from high school, who recently (forty years later) became a fb friend.  It may someday surface from the archives of the meticulously arranged family archives spilling from drawers, boxes, closets.



People Visited



Bobbie Boecker, (Her husband was my mother's CACO officer - I don't know the correct acronym, but that's what it sounded like - he was a liaison between Mom and the Navy, I believe,) my father's mother, Irene, and my Aunt Renée  


My dad's brother, Peyton, Jerry, Dad, Renée in our living room right after Dad came home.  



Branwen, Don, Michael, me (and a little bit of Mary) right after Dad came home.  Don and Bran gave Michael that shirt.  It was thin Indian cotton and cool in both senses of the word.  They gave me one, too, and I wish I had it now.  I think I remember every gift my older brothers gave me.  Each one made me feel honored.

I don't mean to make this all about me, but since it's my therapy and I might as well get it all out there, I'll point out that the vast number of childhood photos of me covering my stomach is indicative of some serious insecurity and angst.  Oprah would want me to share that if I felt like it.  Rule of thumb:  Always do what Oprah would want.  Right, Micah Bug?

Ross Perot, who had been involved in the POW cause (even to the point of financing a rescue attempt, I believe) treated my family to a week in the Presidential Suite at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC.  We, and former POW George Coker, went out to dinner where I had my first mai tai.  Don't you think poor George looks like he wants to be rescued during our walk back?  Lord knows what mai tai enhanced sixteen year old Madeleine was saying.


And, while we're on the subject, which is off the subject, here's Don in our hotel suite.  This was a few years before Michael took charge of stocking the bar which accounts for the comparitively limited selection.  Or maybe it's a long table.

Okay, blog content deteriorating into jokes about alcohol.  Time to stop blogging.

Return to Watergate Lane





Mr. Armstrong, our neighbor from beginning to the end, beneath the sign, holding it still with a stick, so I could grab and secure it.;  Jerry on the ladder, me on the car, (neighbor Skippy Walker?) and Mary with their backs to the camera.  What must little nine year old Mary Beth have been thinking?




Winship, Jerry, me, Mom, Dad, Michael - just as Dad alighted from the car.  He's looking toward the neighbors and the sign hanging over the street.




Just look at the expression on Dad's face.  Even with the grainy quality of the photo, one can see the overwhelmed awe of the moment as he walked across the lawn of the home he left nearly eight years before, taking it all in.


The video of this scene on the news was cute.  After everyone went into the house, closing the door behind us, Michael opened the door and called his black cocker spaniel, Morgan. (Whatever happened to that dog?  A lot of pets made their way through that household, never to be seen again!)

Pictured:  Winship, Billy, Dad, Michael



Tour of the house - at the top of the stairs, coming out of my bedroom, with my canopy bed in the background, entering Mary's bedroom, which led to Jerry's.  Mom in a pink dress, Billy in print shirt, Michael obscured by Billy, pointing something out to Dad.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview press photos purchased on EBay

Describing the Hanoi March in an interview with Kathryn Johnson in our living room; describing the "rope rick" at a press conference at Elon College where my brother, Jimmy, was a student;  my grandmother removing the POW bracelet with her eldest son's name on it;  drawing the Alcatraz layout with George Coker, who'd been held there, along with Dad and others, because he'd taken part in a short-lived escape;  sketching the layout of the Alcatraz cells.  









Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Film Career Cut Short

The day after the POWs landed in the Philippines, President Nixon called my mother to offer his good wishes.  I answered the phone when he called, yelled down the stairs, which was SOP (Standard Operating Procedure, showing off my knowledge of military acronyms) for communicating in our house, to mom, telling her to pick up the kitchen phone.  I listened in on the upstairs phone.

Even though this was slightly pre-Watergate, when someone mentioned to a reporter, later in the day, that I'd spied on the conversation between the President and my mother, the reporter saw potential for a fresh angle to the story.   My mother called me at my friend Judie's house and told me to come home (not asked or suggested as I'd have done with my children, a consequence of my twisted, overly indulgent parenting) because a reporter wanted to talk to me.  By this point in the afternoon, I'd been at Judie's for a couple of hours doing what we (and our friends) often did while her parents were at work, an activity which will remain unnamed because I don't think Judie has enlightened her children about her past and I'm too good a friend to expose her.  Those young guys with the cameras and microphone gave me knowing glances when I brushed my hair, while they were asking me questions, then tossed the hairbrush over my shoulder into mom's azaleas. Disappointingly, the interview never made it to air.

Obviously, that inane story isn't the important memory attached to this photograph of my dad and Richard Nixon, but once I started on it, I had to finish.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cardinal Maury

Disclaimer:  The following posts will only be marginally interesting to a few family members…   The topic, devoid of any particularly triumphant nor, alternately, heart-wrenching circumstances is barely able to hold even my attention.  The scant details revealed by my research hint at a fascinating life, but no specific, truly compelling, tales surfaced.   Cardinal Maury was a relatively minor player in the French political scene of the late 1700s/early 1800s.  Plus, true to form, my laborious, word-laden writing style weighs the topic down further, so much so that I, this blogs most devoted follower, can barely plow through reading it.  But, yet I keep writing.  Important to Madeleine and all that.  Compulsion is an ugly idiosyncrasy.  Soporific-ness, the result.

So…  enjoy!

There's an off-chance that I can claim a member of the Estates General as an ancestor.  The connection hasn't been proven and since the member in question was a Catholic priest, it's safe to say he's not a "direct."  His morals were compared to those of the notoriously dissolute Mirabeau, though, so I guess it's not inconceivable that he fathered a child, but none that would've carried his name. (Or maybe I'm wrong in assuming that a disparaging reference to someone's morals in the Eighteenth Century is necessarily alluding to the sexual variety.  Maybe he just didn't recycle or ate fast food or some such modern day sin.)  Though my mother's maiden name, Maury, is no longer the surname of any living relative (that I can think of), Maurys (and Fontaines) are sprinkled among the first and middle names.

Jean-Sifrein Maury was born in Valréas in 1747 and died in Rome in 1817.  He successfully, for the most part, navigated the churning water that was France during the transition from ancien régime to the Bourbon Restoration, seemingly by jumping from life raft to life raft and supporting whomever was at the helm.  During those years, he went from Abbé to Cardinal and received honors and recognition for his speaking and writing.  He was especially known for his dry wit.

During the early years of the Revolution, the abbé was a member of the Académie Française and the Estates General.  In the National Constituent Assembly, he was a defender of the monarchy known for his oratory contests with Mirabeau in which he was "though always defeated on the vote, was not seldom the conquerer in the debate," according to New Advent online Catholic Encyclopedia.  In 1792, he joined the French émigrés in Coblenz where he was hailed by Louis XVIII as a defender of the Church and of the monarchy.  As the tides turned, he supported Napoleon and his pursuit of divorce from Josephine which resulted, later, in suspension and imprisonment by the Pope.   Cardinal Maury's health suffered as a result of his months in prison and he died in May 1817, rosary in hand.  Despite his steadfast support of the monarchy years earlier, Louis XVIII never forgave Maury's association with Napoleon and refused to allow him to be buried in his titular church.



Thy Scorn of Ostentation is in itself an Ostenstation




Jean Sifrein Maury is credited with some pithy remarks.  My favorite, addressed to the members of the noblesse in the National Assembly regarding their support of the abolition of titles:  "Thy scorn of ostentation is in itself an ostentation."

Others comments about Maury are telling.:

My favorite :  Louis XVI, to whom religion was vital, after hearing the Abbé's Easter sermon, said, "If the abbé had only said a few words on the subject of religion, he would have covered every possible subject."  Oh, that Louis could be clever sometimes.


It seems the Cardinal liked to hear himself talk.  One of the reasons my gut tells me we're related.  The sentence, below, in italics sounds more like the Denton side of my family, though.  The Maurys weren't showy.


"Cardinal Maury did not allow you to advance far. He was fond of telling anecdotes, but he loved to select his subject and to choose his terms. Memory well managed can furnish a tolerable share of the wit and spirit of conversation, and he was, in this respect, the most capital manoeuvrer I ever met with. As he had been absent from Paris for fourteen years he had a great deal to tell. Every one, therefore, listened to his stories with pleasure--himself among the first."  Italics added for emphasis.
http://www.bartleby.com/344/279.html

This story, illustrating that time, the mind, and dreams are nebulous concepts to grasp, is from the section, 'Life in Paris" in the book "Paris in 1789-94:  Farewell Letters of Victims of the Guillotine.":  "…the abbé Maury, though safe in exile, is said to have dreamed of being arrested, imprisoned, tried, and taken to the scaffold.  He mounted the steps, placed his neck on the block, and was awakened by the top of his bedstead having fallen on his neck.  This little accident had with incredible rapidity produced the dream before arousing him."





Ready Wit

One of the most widely published stories about the Abbé Maury relates an incident in which he was apprehended by the Paris mob who threatened to hang him from the nearest lantern which was their expedient way of dispensing with people with whom they disagreed or, occasionally, those who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Just in the nick of time, the Abbé is said to have said, "When you have put me in place of the lantern, will you see the better?"  The fickle mob laughed and Maury was spared.

The anecdote was also found in document that was found among my great-aunt Bet's papers, below.

Being related to Maury would bring me one step closer to vicariously touching the hem of Marie Antoinette's garment.  The story of the Abbé Maury and the lantern is related in Catherine Hyde's   notes to the Princesse de Lamballe's journal.  Now we're talkin' inside track.  And, I quote!:  "I remember one day, long previous to the time I now allude to, the Princess Lamballe told me the Queen had been informed by Mirabeau that the Abbé Maury was to make a motion in the Assembly, which, by a private understanding between the two, Mirabeau was to oppose, for the purpose of the better caring on the deception of their plans, an thereby ascertaining "HOW THE LAND LAY" with respect to some of the deputies, whom Mirabeau had not yet been abel to secure to the interest of the monarchy.  "I wish," said the Princess, "you would go in the Assembly to hear the discussions."  I said I would most willingly, as I was desirous of seeing Mirabeau's impetuosity contrasted with the phlegmatic proposition of the Abbé Maury.  It was on that very day, and in consequence of that very argument, that when the Abbé come for the assembly, the mob cried out, "a la lantern, M. l'Abbé"  The Abbé, turning round, replied, with the greatest sang froid, "Will your hanging me to the lamp-post make you see the clearer?"

So, you see, Mirabeau, one of the early leaders of the Revolution, who was surreptitiously working for the good of the monarchy, conspired with his known opponent, Abbé Maury, who was openly working for the good of the monarchy, to get a feel for where the Assembly's deputies stood on an issue favorable to the monarchy.

Marie Antoinette's hairdresser, Léonard, relates an incident in which he claims (there's no shortage of unlikely claims in his memoirs) that the King and Queen sent him, as their agent, to make overtures to Mirabeau who was one of their most vocal and high-profile opponents.  Léonard says he visited Mirabeau while the great orator was in bed and, during the course of their conversation, Mirabeau tells him, "Do not go and ally yourself against me with the Abbé Maury…"  The event may not have taken place, but in relating it, Léonard reinforces what has been recorded elsewhere, that Maury and Mirabeau were known to be on different sides of the issue.  Or so it seemed.


The Maury Seal


A couple of years ago, I stumbled across Cardinal Maury's seal on Ebay.  My to-buy-or-not-to-buy decisions are weighed against the price of airline tickets and hotel rooms and this purchase didn't make the cut.  I showed the Ebay listing to my brother, Michael, though, and he bought it and had a copy made for me.

Michael also gave me the book "Intimate Virginiana, A Century of Maury Travels by Land and Sea," a collection of family letters and history edited by Anne Fontaine Maury and published in 1941.  At the end of the book, there's a section regarding the existence of a Maury coat-of-arms which refers to Cardinal Maury and to his seal.  One of my ancestors, James Maury, Consul to Liverpool, met with Cardinal Maury in France, where they tried to determine their family connection, if any.  Cardinal Maury gave James Maury a seal which, despite the family's strongly held republic ideals, was copied and used for documents and love letters and passed from father to son.  They didn't unequivocally establish the blood connection, from what I gather, but James did name his eldest James Sifrein Maury.  Sifrein as in Cardinal Jean Sifrein Maury.  For what that's worth.

There are a couple of letters, in Intimate Virginiana, speculating about whether or not the family can lay claim to the coat-of-arms.  In one, written in 1877, James Fontaine Maury says, "I am going to write you a rambling letter to explain, if I may be so successful, the undoubted fact that the Maurys have no arms and we may and never can have any unless in some future time this country turns into a monarchy and the Maurys give up good, honest work and turn into courtiers.  Of course, I mean gimcrack or heraldic arms;  with natural arms they are well supplied and I am proud to say, not ashamed to use them in peace or at war."  A little bit self-righteous sounding.  A family trait.

Also in Intimate Virginiana:

James Maury's granddaughter wrote "My grandfather, I am glad to say, was a strict republican of the purest stamp and he always said a citizen of the United States had no right to a coat-of-arms or any such distinction in a country where all men stood equal in the eyes of the law.  He would never tolerate any display of such things as long as he lived, and I think the same spirit is in the blood yet and I hope it may long remain."

A generation or two later, a young man, Dabney Maury, while returning from traveling in South America, reached the wharf on the Magdalena River just as the steamer's gang plate had been drawn.  He leapt on to the deck successfully, but the seal he'd inherited from his father, dropped into the water below.

On a slightly different topic, a note of background on James Maury, who worked with Cardinal Maury in an attempt to establish whether or not the family lines are connected….

In 2012, I purchased, on eBay, an original account ledger, and, if my memory serves me, the original will of James Fontaine Maury, aforementioned ancestor and Consul to Liverpool.  I stuck it away with the rest of the family memorabilia I've gathered and, shamefully, not cataloged physically nor mentally.  In my defense, it's a large family and every slip of paper and faded photograph is priceless to me, and my poor old brain can't remember everything.  I found the envelope with the account sheets and his original letter outlining his instructions for his burial and payment of debts, but not the actual Last Will and Testament.  I have a feeling that's all I have and that the documents I purchased didn't include the will.  Anyway,  James Maury was born in Virginia, the son of the Reverend James Maury, an educator, born 1719, of Huguenot ancestry, among whose pupils were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.  Secretary of State Jefferson later petitioned President George Washington that the son of his former teacher be commissioned as Consul to Liverpool, thus the appointment.  James Maury served in that capacity for thirty-nine years.

Anecdote Related


This is an excerpt from a tongue-in-cheek anecdote in which the writer describes dinner with the Abbé.  The writer related a story that Maury told about meeting with the Pope, in whose hands his future lay, describing how he slyly maneuvered the Pope into sampling his homemade snuff, implying that he did so in hopes of gaining favor with the Pope.  

From freefictionbooks.org:  CIRCUMNAVIGATING A POPE.-- Even at the dinner-table he permitted himself the indulgence of a vast quantity of Spanish snuff, which he generally shared with his neighbors, distributing a large portion on their plates, which rather spoiled the pleasure of those who had the good fortune to be seated next to him, as it once happened to me at Madame du Roure's. While singing the praises of his beautiful villa at Monte-Fiascone, he frequently drew from his pocket an enormous snuff-box, the contents of which were most liberally showered down upon the company placed near him, and, between two pinches, he informed us that he had formerly the pretension of taking the very best snuff in France. He prepared it with his own hands, and spared no pains in the important proceeding. When he emigrated to Rome he carried with him two jars of the precious mixture. The future destiny of the Abbe Maury was dependent on the pope, and he was a great snuff-taker! "I presented myself several times (I quote his own expressions) before his holiness, and took great care never to omit displaying my snuff-box, which I opened and shut several times during the interview, making as loud a noise as possible. This was all I dared do,--respect forbade me making any advances toward his holiness by offering directly a taste of the mixture of which I was so justly proud. At length my perseverance met with its reward. One day I managed skillfully to push the snuff-box beneath his hand, and, in the heat of argument, he opened it mechanically, and took a pinch of snuff therefrom. It was an awful moment, as you may imagine. I observed him with the greatest attention, and immediately remarked the expression of satisfaction and surprise which overspread his features as he stretched forth his fingers to take another pinch. "_Donde vi viene questo maraviglioso tobacco?_" I told him that I alone possessed the mixture, and that I had only two jars left, or rather that I had no more, as, of course, they now belonged to his holiness. I am inclined to believe that this present was agreeable to him, as it was useful to me." After the story the cardinal boasted to us of the extraordinary frankness of his character. He had shown more of this than he had intended in the tale he had been telling.
--Souvenirs de France et d'Italie dans les Annees 1830, 1831 et 1832.

Balancing Act

French political cartoon of French cardinal Jean-Sifrein Maury (1746-1817), archbishop of Paris. Library of Congress description : "Print shows Abbé Maury walking a tightrope, attended by the devil disguised as a jester, as nobles encourage him from the left, and on the right, a man and woman, representing members of the Third Estate, attempt to impede his progress."

The Cool Lunch Table

Qui peut-on identifier ? L'eau-forte de Jean Huber (reproduite aussi par l'exposition de la BNF) est censée représenter : Voltaire (1), le père Adam (2), l’abbé Maury (3), d’Alembert (4), Condorcet (5), Diderot (6) et La Harpe (7) 




From what I can gather, this painting is by Jean Huber and is called "The Dinner of the Philosophes."  Don't hold me to that translation, though.  In each version, Maury is seated on the far left and is sharing the meal with Diderot, Voltaire and Condorcet among others.