The pathetic but true story behind Lamartine's novel, Jocelyn

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Plaque, Pierreclos - ©Alainauzas / CC-BY-SA Plaque, Pierreclos - ©Alainauzas / CC-BY-SA
Pierreclos castle Castle Tragic destiny Love story Alphonse de Lamartine

Revolutioooon !

Just before the French Revolution, the count of Pierreclos, Jean-Baptiste was a pretty violent man: one day, he thrashed a mason who worked on his estate. Another day, he caught a villager in the act of destroying bushes in his park: he asked him to took off all his clothes, and send him back at home! And when he found cows or goats grazing on his land, he killed some of those animals as an example…

So when the Revolution came, villagers rushed into the castle to punish him. Yes, but Jean-Baptiste waited for them! From his attic he took some big cannons and was getting ready to shot… hey, enough with that! They seized those cannons to him.

Miss and the priest... her lover

Finally, the cruel count was arrested with all his family, except his elder son (who emigrated) and his daughter, Jacqueline-Marguerite, who hid and had a narrow escape. A pretty young lady, nicknamed “Miss of Milly”, who inspired Lamartine his poem “Jocelyn”, in 1836.

She was the character of Laurence! “Jocelyn” deals with a man who renounced to love (the pretty Laurence) in order to dedicate his life to God. A story inspired by the true story of Jacqueline and her lover, the priest Dumont!

François Dumont, priest of Milly and Bussières (Saône-et-Loire) took in the young lady and hid her after her parents’ arrest: this priest is actually Jocelyn, the book’s hero! Dumont met Jacqueline because his brother was in charge of the Pierreclos’ everyday matters. Older than her, handsome and witty, the priest maybe took advantage of the situation and seduced the lady…

But the two ones loved each other, sincerely. He couldn’t marry her, so that’s why he took the holy orders. They had a stillborn child together… Anyway, Jacqueline married an old banker from Lyon. She had no other child. Only regrets…


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