Charles de Morny was a famous French politician and banker, related to all of the aristocracy (he was the half-brother of Napoleon III). To explain his origins, he cynically said: “In my family we are bastards from parents to children. I am the great-grandson of a king, grandson of a bishop, son of a queen and brother of an emperor”.
He did honor the descendants of the family, leaving numerous bastards: some well checked and others attributed by legend, such as Sarah Bernhardt. He inspired the character Monsieur Marsy in the novel His Excellency Eugene Rougon by Emile Zola.
It is said that Morny was very distracted, and even inattentive with his friends; among other reasons because he considered himself – due to his lineage, his influence and economic power – more important than all. One day he received the Baron Alfonso de Rothschild, also a banker, a collector and a patron of art. And when he entered the office, Morny ignored him and only grunted:
“Take a seat” meanwhile he continued to write.
Rothschild was offended and exclaimed:
“Listen, I am Alfonso James Rothschild!”
“Well then in that case take two seats” he told the banker.