simone_remy (simone_remy) wrote in melkam,

Camille's first prison letter to Lucile from BHVP original

This translation is from the original copy in the BHVP; I have noted discrepancies from the published version in brackets.
My Dear Lucile, my Vesta, my Angel
In my prison fate leads my eyes back to the gardens where I spent ten [eight years in published letter] years of my life following [Camille has crossed out loving] you.
Just a glimpse of the Luxembourg brings to my mind a crowd of memories of our love. I am kept in solitary confinement, but in my thoughts, my imagination, almost through the sense of touch, I have never been closer to you, to your mother, to my little Horace.
I am only writing you this short note to ask you for things of great importance. But I am going to spend all my time in prison writing to you, because I have no need to take up my pen in my own defence or for anything else. My justification lies entirely in my eight republican volumes. It is a fine pillow on which my conscience can sleep in anticipation of the tribunal and posterity.
Oh my good Lolotte, we will speak of other things. I throw myself to my knees, I reach out my arms to embrace you, but I no longer find my poor Loulou [here is the trace of a tear] or poor Daronne [nickname of Annette].
Send me a container of water, the glass which has a C and a D our two names, a chamber pot [omitted in published edition], a pair of sheets/curtains [in the French ‘draps’ usually given as curtains, sheets seem more likely to me], a book which I bought some time ago from Charpentier in which there are some pages left blank expressly for writing notes. This book deals with the immortality of the soul. I need to persuade myself that there is a God more just than men, and that I cannot fail to see you again. Don’t be too distressed by my ideas, my good friend, I still do not despair of men nor of my release. Yes my dearest love we will may be able to meet again in the Luxembourg Gardens! But do send me the book.
Farewell Lucile, farewell, Daronne, farewell Horace. I cannot embrace you but it seems to me that with the tears I shed I hold you [all] again to my breast [here is the trace of a second tear]
Your Camille
There is a postscript
In the Luxembourg prison, primidi Germinal 2 me decade
A candlestick, candles, also send me my big woollen dressing gown [woollen is missed out in the published edition], send me something to eat because I don’t see a commissionaire or anyone, the room is fairly comfortable except that the windows are at my feet [there is an unreadable deleted line here]. It seems that I am to learn about the tomb through the solitude in which I am left. I have written to Robespierre, an open letter [this ‘open letter’ is omitted in the published editions], without doubt he will send a reply.
Tags: april 1794, bhvp, camille desmoulins, french revolution, germinal, lucile desmoulins, luxembourg prison
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