October 16th, 1793
Je souffre; I am suffering. I haven't been in this much pain since Jeanne d'Arc was killed. Lately, there has been so much rebellion and murder that it makes my head spin. I wouldn't call this a war anymore; it's more of a revolution.
This revolution began when my late boss, Louis XVI, was in power. He was only 15 years old when he became king; then he married Marie Antoinette of Austria. This marriage was a political decision between the Bourbon family and the Hapsburgs of Austria. Marie was the daughter of Maria Theresa, so you would think that they would teach her how to run a country. The problem was that she and Louis were so young and unprepared. The couple loved to spend money, and my boss loved to get into wars. I think he inherited that from his grandfather, King Louis XV. He caused me lose the Seven Years; not to mention I was already in debt from building the palace of Versailles in 1682. I have had a cold for more than twenty years now.
The palace of Versailles is only twelve miles from Paris, but we still had no idea what was happening in Paris. I had to stay with my boss in Versailles, and it was very difficult to get out of the palace. I admit that I should have known that a rebellion would start though, especially with the ideas of Jean Rousseau and John Locke being spread like the plague. I should have said something to my boss, but I didn't. Now my boss is dead and his wife is on trial.
It's almost 4 a.m. and I am waiting for the verdict of Marie Antoinette. I have had to sit on a bench outside of the courtroom for reasons unknown to me. It's so frustrating. Anyways, she was put on trial for treason, extravagant spending, and incest of her son. The spending and treason I understand, but the incest of her child is repulsive. When I was living with them in Versailles, I never saw her touch her little boy. I never really liked Marie, but this was too much.
Sitting outside a courtroom by yourself gets you thinking. Based on my actions throughout the past few years, I guess I'm not as aristocratic as I thought. I remember going to Paris for the National Assembly and watching the Tennis Court Oath form. At the time, Maximilian Robespierre was really starting to become popular among my lower class people; he was giving the Third Estate a voix, a voice. The new National Assembly made this oath to create a new constitution.
Then July 14th came. A mob was forming in Paris from all the tension of Louis's decisions. They needed gunpowder; so to meet their needs, they decided to storm the Bastille prison. Despite my cold, I was still in Paris; I was getting pushed and shoved by angry Parisians. That day was when I saw only the colors of red, blue, white, and orange. The colors of red, blue, and white were worn by the Parisian people; these colors later become the colors of the revolution. Then the orange came when they lit the Bastille on fire. I can still feel the flames warm on my skin. The Parisians also had the prison guards' heads on stakes and were parading them on the streets. I never knew how much hate lied in the hearts of my people. This was the true start of the revolution. Then more crazy things happened.
This newspaper reporter named Marat began writing about how much he hated the monarchy and even accused them of burning the French flag. That accusation really broke my heart. New revolts began from his words of rebellion.
Despite the revolution, I was still sick. The price of bread was very high which angered many Parisian women. These women were not petite things; they were as big and scary as Russian soldiers. They marched right into Versailles, killing all the guards. They almost caught me with a stake, aiming for my heart, because they were in the heat of the moment. I had to shout, "Sacre bleu! C'est moi! It is me!" They shooed me aside when they finally figured it out.
Then they went after Marie, but they didn't catch her. They did get Louis to sign the Declaration Rights of Man and Citizen which took away the power of the monarch. The mob also told him that he had to move to Paris; it was really going downhill for my boss. We left the palace hearing, "Liberty-Equality-Fraternity!"
As I was remembering the chant, some national guards led Marie out of the courtroom. I stood up as they passed me, but they didn't even give me a sidewise glance. I had to wait until all the citizens left the courtroom before entering the room and walking up to a juror. "What's the verdict?" I asked.
"Death by the guillotine," the man said.
I nodded and asked, "At what time is her death scheduled for?"
"Noon," he replied. Then he walked out the room with the other jurors.
I ran my hand through my blonde hair; she was to be beheaded just like her husband. I decided that I would go see her before she was executed, so I left to go to La Conciergerie, the prison where she was held.
Marie was kept in a room at the top of the woman's court, isolated from the other prisoners. She only attempted to escape one time, but obviously failed. I walked down the hallway until I arrived at her cell. The head guardsman gave me the keys to her cell, but I decided not to open it yet. There was a national guardsman with a tailcoat of blue and cuffs of rouge in the cell with her; she was on around the clock watch on her since she tried to escape. What a foolish woman. "Bonjour, monsieur," I said to him.
The guard turned to acknowledge me. Marie stayed in her same position. Her back was to me, and she was writing something. She was wearing a long white dress and a white bonnet to hold her long, grey hair. I cleared my throat to get her attention. Marie turned to me calmly. Her blue eyes looked exhausted and her face was aged beyond her years. She looked like an old woman considering she was in her upper thirties. "I already know my fate," she said.
"I know; I just wanted to see you." She turned back to her desk. "You look mighty calm for someone who is about to die," I stated.
"Ça m'est égal. I do not care about my life anymore. My children are more important to me. Please make sure Élisabeth takes care of them." Élisabeth is her sister-in-law. I can't believe she was pleading me.
"I will try," I said.
"No you won't." She glared directly in my eyes. "You hate me like everyone else in this country."
That made me angry. "Well, can you blame me? With all your purchasing and gambling, you just made me sicker and sicker. You and your husband were grinding me into the dust. I can't believe Austria and Prussia wanted Louis to stay in charge!" I was letting everything out at that moment.
"They were just scared that a revolution would commence in their territories." Marie's voice was still calm.
I threw my hands up in the air. "Maybe a revolution should begin all over the world like in America! All of these countries need to be enlightened."
Marie stood up and the guard did not move. "Look where that has gotten us. It has resulted in wars and bloodshed. You lost your friendship with Prussia from war."
She had a point. "That's true, but I also lost the monarchy's trust." I ran up to the cell bars and grabbed them fiercely. "Your family actually tried to run away to Austria! My own boss betrayed me." My voice was spitting out flames of hate.
Marie threw her arms in the air. "Just look at you! You're acting like a Jacobin." She was right on the looks part. I had on a blue waistcoat and tailcoat; my breeches were blue as well. I also had on white socks and black shoes. I wish I could wear more colorful clothes, but it was for the cause. "What would you do if you were me? I was trying to protect my family. The truth is, France, you betrayed us." Her voice was cracking.
I was taken back at that comment. Deep down, I knew it was for their safety, but they still shouldn't have run away. It just made the public despise them more. Marie fell to her knees and placed her head into her hands; then she started to cry. "I'm sorry, France. Je regrette."
I opened the jail cell with the keys that the head guard gave me. The guard began to walk towards me, but I waved my hand to him. He obeyed and stopped in his tracks. I walked to stand before her. "It's not entirely your fault, Marie Antoinette. You and Louis were unprepared. You became queen at a time of change; it was just bad timing." I knelt down and placed my hand on her shoulder. "I do still have a disliking of you, but I forgive you. It will take time for me to heal though."
I lifted her chin up to gaze into her eyes. There was a mixture of fear and happiness in her greyish-blue orbs. "Merci, I needed to hear that, France. Can you do one last thing for me?"
"What is your request?"
She stood up and went to her desk; she folded a piece of paper in half and handed it to me. I stood up with a puzzled expression. "Can you give this letter to Élisabeth for me? It's a goodbye letter to her and my children."
I gave her a sympathetic look. "Oui, I will."
Marie gave me one last smile. Suddenly, the door to Marie's prison cell burst wide open. It was some national guards and a few of Robepierre's men coming for Marie. Her end was near. I quickly tucked the letter in my waistcoat. One of the guards took Marie's arm and sat her down on a chair. He took off her bonnet and got out some scissors. He sheared off Marie's long grayish hair. Then the guard was joined by another guard as they proceeded to take Marie to the carriage. They didn't even notice I was there. When they were a few paces in front of me, I began to follow them.
A few minutes later, we were walking outside to the wagon. Wait...a wagon? I stopped for a minute because I was so shocked. When Louis was beheaded, he was taken by a covered carriage. They're just giving her an open wagon like a normal person. Even Marie stopped for a second before she was escorted on to the wagon.
Then a guard gave a signal for the horses to go. I followed the National Guard behind the wagon. Marie sat up straight with dignity as the mob began to throw terrible insults to her. Then the wagon halted about ten feet away from the guillotine.
Two new guards took her arms as she walked down the steps of the wagon. I shoved my way to the front of the crowd. This was Jeanne d'Arc all over again. Marie slowly climbed the steps to the death machine. She accidently stepped on the executioner's foot. "Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose," she said. Those were her last words.
The crowd became silent as she was strapped to the bed of the machine. As they performed the finishing touches, I prayed for her. Then the blade was released and her head was detached from her neck. Fresh blood stains were added to the blade. The crowd cheered as the executioner held up the head of the late queen.
When the hype died down, I went back to the courthouse. I walked into the building and sat on the same bench that I was sitting on earlier. I pulled out the letter from Marie. At least her children will get a goodbye from their mother. "The country is fully ours, eh France?" a voice asked.
I lifted my head up to see to whom the voice belonged to. His square head and white wig made me recognize him instantly. My current boss, Maximilian Robespierre. I sighed, "Yes, it is ours at last."
"What is that?" He was pointing to the letter. I stared at him for a moment, deciding if I should tell him. "You can trust me." His tone of voice said otherwise, but I had to answer my boss.
"It's a letter from Marie Antoinette to her sister-in-law, Élisabeth. She asked me to give it to her."
"You can hand it to me. I'll give it to her." He held his hand out, but I didn't give it to him. "Come on, you can trust your boss." Hesitantly, I handed him the letter. "Merci beaucoup, now if you excuse me, I have some business to attend to," then I was alone again.
He told me that I could trust him, but my heart told me that there was more bloodshed ahead. He already has sent over a hundred nobles to the guillotine. His reign of terror was just going to continue, I could feel it. Who knows when this revolution will end, but it's not going to be anytime soon. I just hope that Élisabeth gets that letter.