|S.S. La Bourgogne, accessed via Ancestry.ca|
Perhaps she wrote the original novel in French under a pen name and had it published in Paris because she did use people she knew as models, but her ego did not allow her to stay completely anonymous, hence the clues and newspaper claims. There was a reported meeting of Mrs. Durkee and Mlle. Favre, the other reputed writer of the novel, at a reception in Paris hosted by the Countess de Tobriand, "when the affair came to a crisis". Mlle. Favre supposedly expressed her outrage at Alice's claims of authorship. I believe this may well have been staged, if it happened at all, as a way for Alice to at once reveal herself as the author and also to maintain some doubt about it. It may have also led to the sale of more of her books.
[Please see my next blogpost, Alice Alida Lebourgeois Jaquet Durkee Hardy-The Continued].