Marie - Nous Sommes Tous Ici

'Well then. Nous sommes tous ici. Let’s begin.
    Guillame paused for a moment before continuing, his eyes wandering over the faces at the table.
    ‘You will all know, of course, that the Revolution is taking control of the country. It is undoubtedly strongest in Paris, but even in Marseilles you will feel its strength. What you may not know is that today they stormed the Bastille.’
    There was a shocked silence. Then a young woman, slightly older than Capuchine, with sharp blue eyes, spoke:
    ‘I did not know of this.’  She had a slightly English accent, but it was well concealed.
    ‘Neither did I, Annette,’ Guillame admitted in a tired voice. ‘Not until Nathaniel returned from Paris this evening.’
    ‘You will have left too early to hear the news,’ Nathaniel said in his quiet, knowledgeable voice. ‘The Bastille fell this afternoon. The Governor was executed. That’s all I know.’
    ‘I suggest no-one returns to Paris tonight,’ Guillame said, ‘Maybe even not tomorrow - at least not until we have more news. I believe it will not be long before the King surrenders. The Revolution is too strong even for the power that God has ordained.’
    Annette sucked in her breath through her teeth, and whispered something in English.
    ‘Mon dieu,’ said a girl about my age with dark brown ringleted hair. ‘Is there nothing we can do?’
    Guillame smiled, the old light of battle in his eyes. ‘Ah, oui, there is much to be done. And you all play a key part in it.
    ‘For a few months now, Gerald, Nathaniel and I have been smuggling people to and from England. Many want to escape France, and others want to come from England to find their French families. There is a bond between our two countries. I suggest we use it to our advantage. It seems that many people in England are eager to prevent the Revolution from spreading to their homes. These people might be willing to help us.
    ‘We also know of a completely female Revolution group, based in Versailles. It’s not to far from here. I suggest we need to infiltrate it, and we will therefore have a direct link with what is going on in the Revolution, and the court, and England. Fingers in all pies, so to speak.
    ‘Donc, I propose sending Gerald, with a companion, to England to seek support there. Annette, you would be the obvious choice, but we need you here.’
    ‘Je comprends. I understand.’
    ‘So maybe Adele, posing as his cousin.’
    ‘Monsieur!’ Adele exclaimed. ‘I have a family to look after! I cannot leave them!’
Guillame sighed. ‘I understand. Think about it - you can give me your decision in the morning. And if anyone else wishes to take her place, then...
    ‘Alors, I would like you, Annette, with Marie and Clara to go to Versailles. It’s not far from your home - you could probably manage to both join the group and keep us informed with things at court, don’t you think? Emmanuel, you will be invaluable when we are planning our next move. I would like you also to travel to Versailles, and tell us how the military are there. I want to anticipate the Revolution’s next move. If there’s any chance we can prevent it...
    ‘Is everything clear?’
    ‘Guillame,’ I said, taking my heart into my mouth. ‘How can you expect me to leave Capuchine?’ My eyes met with Adele’s in understanding. We could not just leave, like these men. We had homes. We had no great ideals - we were just two girls trying to save ourselves and those we love in a time or turmoil.
    ‘Marie,’ said Guillame, and I saw great sincerity and love in his eyes. ‘I will take care of Capuchine myself. I promise you, I will guard her with my life. Nothing is dearer to me in this world.’
    I noticed a flicker of something in Annette’s eyes, but it was so quickly concealed that I began to wonder if it had ever been there at all.
    ‘Monsieur,’ piped up the youngest of the group. She had light brown hair and a skinny frame. Her name...
    ‘Yes, Clara?’
That was it. Clara.
    ‘Where will you be?’
Guillame smiled. ‘Nathaniel will be in Paris, Clara, and I will be here. If there is to be a meeting I will send for you. If there is an emergency... come here immediately, and I will come to you.
    ‘Now, I think that is all. I suggest you all get some sleep - tomorrow is going to be a long day.’

The End

226 comments about this exercise Feed