16. Passionate Romance Was the End of This Head of State
President Felix Faure had always had an eye out for the ladies, and in 1897, he met Marguerite Steinheil, a French woman who became famous for her many affairs with prominent men. Faure was a prominent man, Steinheil soon became his mistress, and the duo frequently met and consummated their romance in the presidential Elysee Palace. On February 16th, 1899, Faure telephoned Steinheil and asked her to swing by the palace later that afternoon. She arrived and was ushered into the palace’s Blue Drawing Room, where Faure awaited her. Soon thereafter, servants heard screams.
When they burst into the room, they found a disheveled and distraught Steinheil, with the president’s convulsed hands tangled in her hair. The President of the French Republic had suffered a fatal stroke while receiving oral… compensation. Naturally, the French press, political class, and public had a field day. Typical was the French daily, Gil Blas, which reported: “Felix Faure passed away in good health – indeed, from the excess of good health”. George Clemenceau quipped: “Il voulait être César, il ne fut que Pompée” – French wordplay that means “he wanted to be Caesar, but ended up as Pompey”, but since pomper is also French slang for a blow job, it carried a double meaning.