Ok, after my previous silly post--which, I fear, only divulged how my fixation with C. and L. nearly borders on psychosis--I wanted to share another instance of recognition, this one more substantial and legitimate. As I was reading through Letters Written in France in the Summer 1790 by Helen Maria Williams, the following caught my eye:
“I have heard several persons mention a young man, of a little insignificant figure, who, the day before the Bastille was taken, got up on a chair in the Palais Royal, and harangued the multitude, conjuring them to make a struggle for their liberty, and asserting, that now the moment was arrived. They listened to his eloquence with the most eager attention; and, when he had instructed as many as could hear him at one time, he requested them to depart, and repeated his harangue to a new set of auditors.” (p. 76)
Now, for some reason the editors, who are pretty meticulous in clarifying historical background, neglect to identify this “young man” with a footnote. How strange! This is C.--right? The chair, the Café du Foy, the great speech...it all seems to fit. I just found it bizarre that Williams doesn’t know him by name, since he would have been familiar by now (1790) in Paris--but I was more struck by the editors’ omission, since they take such care to provide details in other instances. Hmm.
( More on Williams & C.... )
Ok, I know that "Camille" and "Lucie" are common French names and can refer to either masculine or feminine subjects. It was just lovely to see the names together on a sign and to think that another French Revolution aficionado had put them there. And don't you think that it would be a nice concept for a jewelry store? It's romantic enough (tragic, too, but still). Anyway, I was just going through my photos, saw this one, remembered why I took it, and knew that only a select few could appreciate my...knack for associating random things with my favorite Revolutionary couple?:)
The other thing that amazed me is how incredibly illegible all of these people's handwriting was. Jesus Christ. I'm half convinced that Matton, or whoever did the first official compilation and publication of Camille's work, just made shit up when he couldn't read the writing and other historians just worked off his printed copies because the originals are nuts. I looked and looked and I certainly couldn't find "Je vais mourir" in Camille's last line in the final letter to Lucile. It's probably there, but I can't get over how awful his handwriting was. ;-) Robespierre stands out as having amazingly legible writing. Let's not even talk about Lucile...
Anyway, I just had to gush about that. It was absolutely amazing.
( Lucile )
ETA: Completely unrelated, but it didn't seem to warrant a separate entry. I was wandering around Ivry (a suburb of Paris that's almost part of it. It's kind of a sketchy little area) yesterday and I ran across a whole bunch of Revolutionary-related streets and such. We had Le Saint-Just tabac and café and the Rue Marat and the assorted shops all named after it. Anyway, nice to know they're there, but it supported my thesis that areas with streets named after Montagnards who are not Danton or Camille Desmoulins are generally places you want to avoid if you're alone and it's dark (see: Rue Saint-Just).
I'm just stopping by to highly recommend the works of the historian Olivier Blanc, whose book Les hommes de Londres: Histoire secrète de la Terreur I'm in the process of reading. In this particular book, which has unfortunately not been translated into English (nor is it available for sale anywhere on the internet that I could find, despite its having come out in 1989!) Blanc makes a rather convincing argument for Barère's having been an agent paid by Pitt to undermine the Republic. I know that may sound on the paranoid side, but he has truckloads of documentation to prove it.
In any case, I believe the only books of Blanc's that have been translated into English are a book on 18th century architecture, which of course is not strictly related to the Revolution, and one called La dernière lettre: Prisons et condamnés de la Révolution, 1793-1793 and translated somewhat loosely as Last Letters: Prisons and Prisoners of the French Revolution, 1793-1794. I've only read excerpts from it, but from what I've read it seems worth recommending, especially as it's prefaced by Michel Vovelle.
From that particular book, I even have a picture for you, which you may not have seen before. (I know I hadn't.)
In case you can't read the caption - admittedly, it is a bit fuzzy - it says "Lucille Duplessis Epouse de Camille Desmoulins" or "Lucille Duplessis, wife of Camille Desmoulins."
My translation of Blanc's caption is, "'Good evening, my dear maman, a tear escapes from my eyes; it is for you. I am about to go to sleep in the calm of innocence.' Last note of Lucile Desmoulins, 13 April 1794. Writing and drawing (by Brune, the future marshal) conserved in the Historical Library of the City of Paris."
Also, on a completely unrelated note, read Timothy Tackett's Becoming a Revolutionary: The Deputies of the National Assembly and the Origins of the French Revolution. It is made of win.
I was wondering, however, if anyone knows of any print or online versions of Lucile Desmoulins' diary? I've found about a bazillion references to it, but haven't been able to find a version of the diary itself anywhere. I might just be looking in the wrong places, however. Has anyone ever managed to find it?
Here is Saint-Just, wearing the representative en mission hat. (Which does kind of look a bit silly, but as it was the standard uniform for representatives en mission, Saint-Just probably would have worn one while at the army.
Here is Theresa Caburrus. Though, as she was in jail at the time of 9th Thermidor, probably won't feature in your reenactment.
Here is Camille and Lucile Desmoulins. Yeah, I never could get Camille's face to turn out right. The text is there because I submitted this in a 6th grade art contest, and had to explain/condense their lives into a paragraph. :(
I have some others somewhere, I'll post them if there is any interest. Sorry about not being able to put these under a cut, but all the formatting buttons have disappeared.