Lucile Desmoulins, née Anne Lucile Philippe Laridon Duplessis was born 1770, presumably in Paris. She was the first daughter to Claude Etienne Laridon Duplessis, a wealthy man, and Anne Françoise Marie Boisdeveix, also known as 'Annette'.
Lucile fell in love with Camille while still quite young, and in her teens. Camille was more than ten years older and of very poor financial worth. He lived in a hovel in Paris and struggled to make ends meet through law-copying.
He was brilliant and quick witted. His stutter impeded public speaking, yet he wished to represent Guise in the States General. Camille wanted to be popular, a star leading the Revolution. Caught amongst the crowds at Palais Royal on July 12, 1789, he leaped onto a table to harangue the multitude. He did not stutter, and spoke clearly for all to hear. This catapulted him into the limelight. It was a dream come true, for with this new notoriety, Camille began to write pamphlets against the monarchy.
As the Revolution progressed, he sharpened his quill and and filled page after page with poisoned ink. Camille ran amok with his impetuous writings. His words slashed across important personages' hides, and in turn these men wanted to see Camille bleed.
This sort of notoriety did not sit well with Duplessis. Lucile and her mother conspired to bring him to their side. Camille was constantly invited to Sunday dinners, but this did not sway Duplessis. With the age difference, the financial extreme between Duplessis and Camille, Lucile hardly thought her dream to marry Camille would ever come true. Her father seemed to block every avenue to her happiness. While she dreamed of marriage with Camille, her father sought a suitable husband who was either royalist or rich.
Finally, in December 1790, they broke him down. Duplessis consented to his daughter marrying Camille, and provided a rich dowry. Before her father changed his mind, Camille and Lucile married as quickly as possible. They chose the Christmas Season. Robespierre, a school chum of Camille's, stood witness, and was one of the signatories.
Within weeks, they were married and settled into the same building as the Dantons, Gabrielle and George-Jacques. Danton belonged to one of the Revolutionary clubs called the Cordelier Club, and Camille joined, too. Lucile could finally take part in the Revolution rather than sit on the sidelines and watch. The Desmoulins and Dantons became great friends. Gabrielle's home was filled with children, and Lucile took solace in being close to her friend as her own pregnancy advanced.
Camille was no longer a poor man. Along with the rich dowry, his journal garnered enough livres to live a comfortable life, but his quill scratched across men's lives. With the help of his poisoned ink, good men of the Republic lost their lives to Madame Guillotine. Lucile stood by with mounting horror. She begged Camille to temper his words.
The Terror took hold with astounding rapidity. France was at war with all its neighbors, and to escape suspicion and the guillotine, men joined the army. The borders around France closed. Tribunals were set up across the land to purify any danger within. By 1793, Camille grew weary of the Terror. With Danton's urging, Camille pleaded for clemency.
As Lucile witnessed her Paris fall under the pall of tyranny orchestrated by Robespierre, she also watched her husband bury himself in a cause that would more than like send him to the guillotine. Each number of the 'Old Cordelier' garnered more readers. People stormed the floor of the Assembly and begged the representatives for mercy. They clutched Camille's journal in their hands and cried whole families were being executed. There was no one left to kill.
Robespierre, who stood up for Lucile's and Camille's wedding ceremony, who was the godfather of their only son, Horace Camille, had turned his back on his friends. Lucile sought him out to save her husband, his truest friend. She went to his house, but Robespierre would not see her. The door was shut tight in her face, and Lucile became inconsolable.
Camille was considered a 'Dantonist', and the plea for clemency brought down the Dantonists. It left a big hole for Robespierre to extend his tyranny the length and breadth of France. People were suspect if they carried parcels. No one left their homes from sunset to dawn. Hooligans patrolled the streets, and harassed good people after dark.
There are movies about Danton, and Camille's character generally has a small role in them. The most prominent part of Lucile's characters in the movies are of a desperate woman wandering through cavernous, government buildings, calling Camille's name. It is a depiction of historians' view of Camille and Lucile. They don't really like Camille. Whenever anyone mentions Camille's name, it always by his Christian name, never his last name. Whereas, everyone else in the history are called by their surnames. One hardly knows Danton's first name. It's hardly mentioned...
Lucile Desmoulins died April 13, 1794 at the young age of twenty-four.
April 25, a chapter of The First Apostle will be highlighted in Mary Burns' blog: http://www.historicalchapters.blogspot.com/.
This is very exciting. An author always likes to see their work brandished about. It allows more people to see it and bring their imagination to explore a different time. Eventually, if they are good fellows all around, they read the whole novel and provide a terrific review.
You can find The First Apostle at: wings-press.com, amazon.com, and the NOOK