The terrible history of the Verdun Maidens
Dragées were linked to a tragic event in the city’s history: Verdun’s maidens episode. On September 2th 1792, Verdun surrendered against Prussian army. King of Prussia settled near the city, in a little hamlet: Verdun people had to bring the city surrender to his tent, quickly!
So they decided to send a lady, Mrs. Tabouillot, with dragées and flowers, to make a present for that special "guest". A little troop of women went to the king’s tent: Mrs. Tabouillot and her daughter Claire, Mrs. Lalance and her 3 nieces, the Henri ladies, the 3 Watrin sisters, Mrs. Bestel, Mrs. Masson and others.
Every one wore nice white dresses... that’s why they called them "maidens". But, there was a problem! King of Prussia despised flowers and dragées!
And meanwhile, his army ran towards Paris: oh, they would be stopped in Valmy, in September 1792... and Verdun would be saved by Kellerman one month later, but... the damage was done.
For people from Verdun, it was a treason! We were in middle of the French Revolution, heads were going to fall... especially the Maidens' heads, those women who welcomed Prussians with open arms! After a long, long trial, 35 persons were sentenced to death, 6 women and 8 teenagers included.
The 2 youngest, Claire Tabouillot and Barbe Henri, get 20 years inside. French writer Victor Hugo wrote a poem about this drama, published in Odes et Ballades (1826).