3 Janvier 1791
My very dear father,
At last, I was married to Lucile on Wednesday December 29th. My dear Berardier conducted the ceremony at St Sulpice, assisted by M. le Curé, who had practically begged for the honour of doing it. I had great difficulty with the bishop over the dispensation for advent. A certain M Floirac, the grand vicar, told me that I was the cause of his chateau being burned down; that I had caused him the loss of twenty thousand livres in income, etc……
Pethion and Robespierre were my witnesses, the elite of the national assembly, M de Sillery who had wanted to be there and my two colleagues, Brissot de Warville and Mercier, top class journalists.
Before the ceremony Berardier gave a touching sermon, which moved us to tears, Lucile and I. We were not the only ones affected; everyone around us had tears in their eyes. The wedding feast took place at my house; there was only M and Mme Duplessis, their younger daughter, Adèle, my Lucile, the witnesses and the celebrant. M Deviefville was unable to be there, detained, he said, by an indisposition, but he had signed the marriage contract. If he has a friendship as sincere and impartial as you believe, he must be very pleased with the dowry, which is 112,000 livres.
A number of journalists have spoken about my marriage; the patriots are delighted, the aristocrats are enraged, and insult the family which has honoured me by this alliance. But everyone is agreed on their admiration for my wife, as a perfect beauty and I assure you that this beauty is the least of her merits.
It was left to me to go before the new judges to condemn the journal of the court and town for the gross insults they printed three days ago against my wife and her family:
It is said that this beauty is the love child of the Abbé Terray
But this is such an absurd folly; the mother has need of great virtue to resist the attacks to which her beauty exposes her and she has often given proof of it. She has never even seen the Abbé Terray; her husband did not become first clerk to the controller general until after Terray’s death, and worked under M de Clugny. Under the Abbé Terray he was at the treasury.
All of this is so well known that this respectable family simply laughs at the libel of these infamous aristocrats and they advise me to treat it with scorn.
There are few women who, having been idolised, sustain the proof after marriage but the more I know Lucile, the more I kneel down before her. I didn’t have the time to write to you earlier because I made it a point of honour that my latest journal should be better than its predecessors, and I had only two days to compose it.
My wife embraces you, and my mother, and all my family. She asks me to tell you that she has still not had time to meet you, that she dares not write to you for fear that she will not live up to the image I have created of her, and that she will send a letter in the next few days. She has been enchanted by your letter on the subject of our marriage and she guards it safely. She has re-read it many times.
The happiest of men, who desires nothing else in the world.
And on January 9 1791 his father replied
Guise 9 Janvier 1791
My son, your happiness resounded to the depths of my heart, since you told me yourself that your marriage had been celebrated. In the pleasure which I have had of learning indirectly from various people around me in more or less satisfying circumstances, I felt that something was missing. These different voices were just not yours. It wasn’t you. It just wasn’t your own outpouring of joy, your sensitivity.
Your silence, so long maintained, since you received the consent for which you had shown such bubbling impatience, left me a little concerned, for the tenderness of a father is as anxious as a lover. You are about to be in a position, one day, to experience the truth of this position, this maxim.
Whilst embracing our dear daughter in law for us, please tell her that we love her as much as you do. Calm her fears about writing; she will always have the eloquence of a heart close to mine when she is telling me that she loves my son and that she is happy. Tell her that she has gained a new family, wholly eager to emulate her own in everything that can contribute to her happiness and anticipate her wishes.
I am completely in agreement with Mme Duplessis and her family in scorning the drooling drivel of the madman of the day and his ephemeral libel, which, tomorrow, will be replaced by another which will be just as quickly forgotten. Don’t you think that he will be able to adapt his leaflets to this epigram
Dat veniam corvis, lacerat
I do not say censura, the word is too noble in this case, but morsura columbas.
I am sorry that the poor health of our dear and worthy kinsman, M Deviefville prevented him from attending the celebrations. I don’t like to think of him being unwell in Paris, amidst affairs which will overwhelm him as a deputy for the exhausting Vermandois. I cannot wait to see him back here, breathing his native air, which he needs just as much as his tranquillity. If you see him often, join with his family in persuading him to regain his health in the bosom of his peaceful and delightful hearth, among his friends on the benign and health-giving banks of the Oise and with water from the spring of St Martin de la Bussière. The beautiful glades in the bois du Fay, which are his work, will bring him back, as well as the friendship which I swear for him and the interest I have in him regaining his health, without which all the other good things in life lose their great attraction.
The whole household embraces you and your dearest other half. Share, between the two of you, the caresses of your best friend