BOUTHEMONT, manager of the silk department at "The Ladies' Paradise."
Noisy and too fond of company, he was not much good for sales, but for
buying he had not his equal. Nearly every month he went to Lyons, living
at the best hotels, with authority to treat the manufacturers with
open purse. He had, moreover, liberty to buy what he liked, provided he
increased the sales of his department in a certain proportion settled
beforehand; and it was on this proportion that his commission was based.
Eventually, however, his position was undermined, and Madame Desforges,
having become jealous of Mouret, and wishing to injure him, introduced
Bouthemont to Baron Hartmann, who lent him money to start an opposition
establishment called "The Four Seasons." This was burned down three
weeks after its opening, but the enormous loss was covered by insurance.
Au Bonheur des Dames.