Alexandrine Etiennette Marie Charlotte des Écherolles was a member of a provinical French noble family. Her mother died when she was 7 years old, and she and her siblings were raised by their father and paternal aunt in Moulins. With the outbreak of the French Revolution when she was 13, Mademoiselle des Écherolles and her family were forced to flee to Lyons. Her father and aunt were arrested by radical revolutionaries; her father managed to escape, but her aunt was sent to the guillotine. Mademoiselle des Écherolles lived quietly in obscurity until the end of the Reign of Terror in 1794. She sought treatment for tuberculosis in Switzerland, and her father remarried. She later went into permanent exile from France and worked as a governess and lady-in-waiting to the Duchess Louis of Wurtemburg. She published two volumes of memoirs that dealt specifically with this turbulent period of her life. The first edition was published in 1843 under the title Quelques
Annees de ma Vie. In 1879, it was edited by
Rene de Lespinasse and published
under the title Une Famille
Noble sous la Terreur. An English translation was published in 1900 under
the title Side-Lights on the Reign of Terror. Translations
of the work into German and Russian have also been issued.