A Swashbuckling, Romantic Tale of the French Revolution!
LADY WITH A SWORD
A Swashbuckling, Romantic Tale
of the French Revolution
By: Ted Anthony Roberts
Liberty, Equality, and a Sword
On the eve of the famous French Revolution, in 1789 A.D., we find a torn France that is divided into two factions; with one screaming equality, and the other trying to silence that cry! Lords, Aristocrats and Nobles are going just too far in the eyes of the citizens at throwing their weight around, and caring little of whom they crush in their throwings! And, after all, America is fighting for their freedom against the English, so can’t France do the same also? Yes, the Frenchman has heard of, and has admired the exploits of the famous General George Washington. He’s a villain in England, but is a hero to the citizens of a country that wants the same benefits! And France has her heroes as well, and those heroes are the common everyday folk who love freedom – freedom – freedom!
So, does this mean that all of the aristocrats of France hate to the very lowest of their beings the common citizens who are rebelling against the interest of the upper class? Well, I’m sure there is sympathy on both sides to each other, but an accurate count certainly cannot be given to any degree. However, there is one person in particular in France who cannot stomach the idea at all of the nobles’ treatment toward the lower classes. This person is of noble birth themselves. Having, of a truth, a dear and noble heart, and who feels it bleed ceaselessly toward the poor citizens of France. This aristocratic person, I am here declaring, has already made up their mind to try and help these helpless citizens with all their might, and will try their very best to turn the tables on the nobles in an attempt for there to truly be equality finally in all of France.
It must be admitted, however, that this true -hearted person, who is a young lady of only seventeen years, is also a bit naive as to what is really transpiring in France. As to the politics, this true -hearted youth only hears about events in the salon from the very lips of her own father, who always tongue-bashes, in rants and raves, about the trashy citizens who are always seeking equality with the nobles. What she hears is meanness, what she understands is freedom for the underdog; what she doesn’t know is that France is really on the brink of a Revolution that will change her country forever; and what she also doesn’t know is that it will not be a France of equality between citizen and noble alike, but will be a France that will rid themselves of as many nobles as Madame Guillotine will rid them of! The young lady cannot comprehend these things, for her heart, which is very pure in its intentions, but young in its understanding, will never be able to grasp the idea that equality does not really mean equality . . . but will have to learn, in the harshest manner possible, that equality means citizens in noble positions, after the disposal of aristocrats . . . and that includes herself, her father, and her entire household!
Not only does she not understand this, but the whole while that her father is in a heated passion, and as he bellows out his opinions of affairs in the country toward his gathered aristocrats in his salon, the dear young girl is making her own kinds of plans as to how to help the very citizens who will torch her home without a moment’s hesitation.
He screams rebellion; she thinks freedom!
He bellows about traitors; she dreams of equality!
With anger, he cracks the riding whip in his hand; she imagines a sword in hers!
Having the look of an angel as she sits quietly in her sitting chair, she begins to glow with confidence as to how she will execute her plans, for they have become fully developed in her mind by this time! Oh, if her father only knew what she was thinking at the very moment that he wishes her to think about her station and position, he might have an early death from shock!
As the night closes in, her father begins to see his guests out the door; and after closing it behind them, he quickly walks back into the living room where his daughter is still sitting, anxious to ask her how she enjoyed his little speech.
“Oh,” she simply says, with a faint smile upon her lips, “it was very interesting, father.”
“Interesting?” he says, with a gruff! “Marie, we are speaking about our way of life being in jeopardy!”
“Jeopardy of what, father? Of being equal with other people?”
“Equals, Marie? This goes deeper than being equal; don’t believe the propaganda – they don’t want equality, as they say; they want to take over this country!”
“I don’t see it that way, father!” she says passionately.
With this last bit of demonstration, he merely smiles at his girl, for he understands her youth, and knows that she cannot fully comprehend the situation. Softening his tone, he decides to end the subject: “Well, my dear, it’s getting late; and you have more fencing lessons tomorrow.”
“Fencing lessons, father? Why, I’m already the best fencer of all the ladies in my class!”
“Don’t get too prideful, my dear.” he says to her, with a chuckle. “As I understand it, that young Francis isn’t too bad herself.”
“Francis!” she nearly yells. “Why, I disarmed her twice last week! She’s no match for my blade!”
Laughing loudly at this statement, he walks over to her, lifts her to her feet, and warmly embraces his daughter. “If only your mother could have lived to see how beautiful you have become, I know that she would be quite proud of you!” Pulling her away from himself a bit, as to view her, he says: “And you are looking more and more like her everyday.”
“I don’t remember, father.” she says, sadly. “After all, she did die when I was still a little girl.”
“But we do have her portrait, hanging over the fireplace mantle.”
“I don’t think that it’s a very good painting, though. Besides, does anyone really ever look like their portrait?”
He laughs at this, and declares: “I know that I don’t!” But then changing the subject: “It’s time for bed, my dear. You might be the best of all the young ladies, but I want you to be better than the young men as well. You’ll need it when you start courting young men!”
“What do you mean?” she asks, confusingly.
“Well, the first time they ask you for a kiss, you are to pull your sword on them, and make them pay dearly!” he says, laughing the while.
“I can’t do that, father! Besides, ladies can’t carry swords around like men do – but I truly wish that ladies could – I certainly would wear one around.”
“Don’t you want to look like a proper young lady?”
“Who says that proper young ladies can’t look proper with a sword? After all, Anne Bonny wore a sword at her side!”
“Anne Bonny? You on that again? She was a Pirate, and no lady.”
“I think that she was a lady! A lady that no man ever dared to take advantage of! Did you know that there has been several young girls my age who ran off to a life of Piracy?”
“Yes, but they weren’t proper young ladies! But, again, it’s time for bed, Marie.”
“Alright . . . goodnight, father.”
“Goodnight, my dear.”
Later that evening, Marie is finding it hard to sleep, and is tossing and turning with each new thought that continuously plagues her mind! She cannot keep the images of the poor, helpless citizens out of her mind, who are being seen by her in very hard and torturous situations. Even though it is true that her father has never been a cruel man to any of his servants, nor to any citizens that he has come into contact with, he, nevertheless, is a true sympathizer with his fellow aristocrats who seemingly are. In fact, Marie had witnessed on several occasions a neighboring aristocrat whip his servant for pouring his wine ten minutes too late! She did all within her power not to thrash the lord for his cruelty. Despite the fact that she knows nothing, as we have pointed out earlier, of the rising party of citizens who are bent on crushing both royalty and nobility with a single and tremendous blow, she declares to herself boldly that there needs to be some hero in France who is not afraid to put an end to the tyranny; and that the hero also needs to champion the citizens’ cause!
“Yes, a champion.” she says to herself, with a bald-up fist. “Even if it has to be me!”
And with this established determination, which she initially came up with while sitting on a couch in the salon earlier, which she did instead of hearing out her father’s words of rebel crushing, she suddenly jumps up from her soft bed and begins dressing herself to go out – which she does with much quickness.
After hiding a sword underneath her cloak, she then sneaks out her window, and into the darkness of the night. It being already eleven thirty, and not a single candle is left on in the château, for even the servants are now in bed, she finds no difficulty in darting out of the courtyard and into the Paris streets.
Having the boldness of a lioness, she briskly walks along the roadways as if she’s a sergeant in a guard unit, for she pays no heed to the obvious dangers that awaits any lady who might dare to venture out alone on such a night as this!
Already she is starting to be followed by a few undesirables as she plods along to no certain destination, for she merely wanted to see first hand the tyranny that she imagined to be happening all around her; but all she can see now are five rough characters who seem bent on harming a young lady.
Having already traveled for nearly a quarter of a mile from her safe and comfortable home, she suddenly comes to a dead stop right in the middle of the street; which gives her unwanted companions a chance to surround her. Each one pulling out daggers, they begin laughing horrifically.
“Citizens, stand down!” she bellows the command. “For I am here to help you.”
“To help us?” says one of them, sarcastically, and with a vicious grin. “Darling, you have no idea how you can help us!”
This doubles the laughter of his friends, who are all getting closer to the young girl.
“Oh, well, in that case – help, help.” she says, in a silly and mocking way, while waving her arms around. “I need a strong hero to save me from these frightful, little, ugly girls!”
“I’m going to enjoy this!” says the first man, continuing his malicious grin.
“No worries, mademoiselle.” says a voice out of nowhere; which causes everyone to start looking around themselves suddenly. “I will be your rescuer this night! That is, if you will allow me.”
Just now, a young handsome cavalier comes forth from the shadows, sword in hand. Even though it is dark, everyone is able to see the swordsman fairly well by the light of the lamppost that he is now leaning upon. He’s wearing no hat, but the good looks of his face are being framed very well by his dark hair, which is bunched together with a bow, giving him a short ponytail. He wears no jacket, so his white shirt can clearly be seen; it’s puffed at the sleeves, and is slightly unbuttoned at the chest. Completing his costume is a pair of black pants, a leather belt, and a pair of black leather shoes without the accompaniment of stockings.
Marie is immediately taken in by his rugged good looks – but she tries not to show it!
“Who are you?” screams out the leader of the rats.
“Jean-Pierre d’Ampot, at your service,” says he with a bow.
“Alright boys,” continues the thug, speaking to his friends, “two of you hold the lady, the rest of you help me kill the hero!”
Just as soon as two of the men are within a short distance of Marie, her sword is immediately released into their direction; and is used with such quickness, and with such accuracy, that it gives the two men absolutely no time to react at all, and it actually slashes both of their throats in this one movement for an instant kill! Completely stunned, as the two bodies hit pavement, and added to the fact that there is a look of fire within Marie’s eyes, the rest of the gang suddenly dashes off in great fear.
After being sure that they are gone, Marie finally lowers her sword to her side, and then takes a look over at Jean-Pierre – who has a large grin embe dded upon his face, and who is still leaning upon the post.
“Bravo, mademoiselle!” he says to her, while straightening himself up, and sheathing his sword. “That was well played.”
He then advances toward her. At seeing this, she quickly aims her sword at him!
“Hold up, my dear.” he says to her, stopping his advancement, and holding up his hands. “I’m a friend. I’m not going to hurt you. In fact, with the skill that you have with that sword, I don’t think that there would be too many people who could hurt you.”
“I’m not afraid of you!” she says to him, while lowering her sword and sheathing it.
“I’ve no doubt.” he says, with the same smile, and while lowering his arms. “Still, you need to be extremely careful on the streets of Paris at this time of night. Which brings me to a question: what is a nobleman’s daughter doing out in the streets this time of night anyway?”
“Who says that I’m a nobleman’s daughter?” asks she, majestically.
“You’ve got to be joking, right? I think, my dear, that it’s extremely obvious. In this part of the city, a lady of your quality is a rare enough thing, indeed – and especially at this time of the night.”
“Well, I’m here to help the citizens.”
“Help them with what, mademoiselle?”
“To fight tyranny!”
“And what tyranny would that be?”
“Why, the tyranny of the upper class against the lower class.”
An extremely surprised look crosses the young man’s face. “Is this another one of your jokes?”
“I assure you, sir, that I am quite serious.”
“Alright, I’ll bite . . . and what do you propose to do about it?”
“I will champion the citizen’s cause!”
Not knowing how to react to this simple declaration, Jean-Pierre takes another look at the two dead bodies at Marie’s feet, and back again to her eyes; and he’s not sure whether to think the girl mad or delirious.
“Does you father know that you are out here?”
“Of course not. But this has nothing to do with my father; it has to do with me and the poor citizens of this city.”
“My dear, do you even know what is happening in this city? Do you even keep up with the politics?”
“I hear enough from my father; enough to know that something must be done!”
“Who is your father?”
“I’d rather leave his name out of this.”
“Very well; but how does he feel about the situation? Does he feel the same as you?”
“No, unfortunately not. He is of the opinions of the aristocrats . . . but that does not mean that he’s a hateful man! In fact, he is good hearted and kind, and he treats his servants well. I’m not sure why he can’t see things the way that I do.”
“And how are you seeing things?”
“That the aristocrats are hateful, and the citizens must become equal with them!”
“And do you feel that the citizens share this opinion of yours?”
“Of yes, I do! What else can they be wanting? My father says that they speak of equality.”
“But they also speak of freedom, my dear. Do you believe that their ideas of freedom and equality are the same?”
“What do you mean by that, sir?”
“I’m asking you if whether you think that the nobles will ever accept the fact that the citizens will be their equal? I am also asking if you believe that if the citizens are ever to become free, that they will able to do so without bloodshed?”
“Bloodshed? Who is speaking of bloodshed? We must fight them in the courts!”
“When the courts are ran by the aristocrats? Who will listen?”
There is hesitation on her part, while a cloud starts coming over her head.
“You are confusing me, sir!” she says, with a force. “I ask you to stop this. Can you not see that we must become free?”
“We, who, my dear? You’re an aristocrat – you are free.”
“You don’t understand anything, do you?” she shouts.
“I understand more than you think that I do.”
“Then why can’t you see that we must convince the nobles to accept the citizens on equal grounds?”
“Talks have already been attempted, mademoiselle. And I’m afraid that the time for talking is over with.”
“Oh, you are impossible!” she screams at him.
“Go home, my dear. You cannot understand this world . . . but that shouldn’t stop you from praying.”
“Yes, I’ll pray . . . but I’ll pray that you will understand things!”
At this, she runs away from him.
To be continued . . . .