The Second Chance

Chapter 24: Dark clouds are gathering above France

Oscar´s nightmare seemed to come true after all…Despite of her countless efforts, she hadn´t been able to change the queen nor the king…They seemed to be more interested in pleasures than in their own people…For years France´s dept had increased; When France had helped the Americans fighting against the English, the costs almost taken France into a bankruptcy. The King Louis XVI responded to it by raising the taxes, and since the nobility and the clergy were freed from the direct taxes, the burden fell to the commonalty…

And the shortage of food made things even worse…

While the queen was having her elegant parties at Versailles, buying new dresses and jewels, the commoners were suffering from hunger…People´s sufferings grew and they started to be impatient…Something had to be done…and soon.

Oscar knew that, and when the Revolution would start, she would stand by her husband, André… Together they would fight with the people…she wanted to help to build a new, better France, where everybody would be free and equal…She wanted to have better life for the people, and for their son François…

The time had passed by quickly as Oscar and André were taking care of their son François…And the time of the Revolution drew nearer…

The opening of The État Généraux were held in 5.5.1789…With all the three estates; clergy, nobility and commonalty, were gathered there in the assembly hall to discuss the future of France…But soon troubles came along and the King Louis XVI ordered to close the entrance to the État Généraux, so that the delegates wouldn´t get in…

When the delegates couldn´t go into the assembly hall, they decided to go to Jeu de Paume instead…the Jeu de Paume…Paume, a predecessor of tennis, became popular in France at that time. Courts for the games built in many areas of the country…

Robespierre was there speaking to the people…“no force can crush our National Assembly! Everyone! Let us pledge with our hearts, hands, and our voices together as one! Our National Assembly, run by the People for the People, will never dissolve until the day comes that a Constitution for the People is enacted!”

June 20th. 1789, this was the famous “Tennis Court Oath” which marked the start of the French Revolution.

Oscar and André had sneaked in and were now sitting and listening to Robespierre…

Oscar:“Wow…That was amazing…” she was very touched by Robespierre´s speech…

André was holding their son in his arms…“Yeah…” he paused and then asked…“Is it time, Oscar? For us to go back to our men?”

Oscar looked at André and François…She was worried of what might happen to them…The two persons she loved the most…

Oscar:“Yes, it is…”

André kissed his son´s hair…“Oscar, when he will be as old as we are now, things are much better.” he smiled.

Oscar shed a tear…“I hope so…I really hope so.”

Soon, the king Louis XVI summoned the three estates to assemble again in order to resolve the chaotic situation…

It was raining, when the Army Colonel Choisielle la Baume was calling delegates inside one by one…The French Guards were keeping a peace there, while the crowd stood outside in the rain waiting for their names to be called…

La Baume:“Count Colage…Baron Mènier…Marquis Clair…Viscount Rossiar…” he was interrupted, when a man, whose name he hadn´t called, tried to go inside…

La Baume:“Just a moment, please. You are?” he stopped the man.

Caplegurne:“Tier- État delegate, Caplegurne.”

La Baume:“Sorry, but please wait until I call your name…” then he continued reading names from his papers…“Next Marquis Antoire, please.”

Another man tried to get inside, when la Baume stopped him…“Your name?”

Gymnoire:“Tiers-État delegate, Gymnoire.”

La Baume:“I´m sorry, please wait.” he told the man.

Soon everybody realized its oddness…“Hey, how come the Tiers-État delegates can´t go in?” someone from the crowd asked…“Yo! Let our delegates get inside now!” someone yelled…

Then, Oscar and André appeared among the crowd and walked to la Baume…Oscar was wearing her military uniform…The uniform of the Commander of the French Guards…

Everybody was amazed…The Guards were happy to see their Commander and her husband again…

Oscar:“Colonel Choisielle la Baume! Why, why don´t you call the Tiers-État delegates?!” she was frustrated…

La Baume:“Why…Isn´t is Brigadier Oscar François de Jarjayes? Didn´t you retire?!”

Oscar:“The name is Grandier! And no, I did not retire! As you can see, I´m back!” she shouted.

La Baume:“Oh, yes…I remember…You married your stableman…”

Oscar:“Yes! Since we are all equal, I think there´s nothing to wrong with that! And now let´s get to the point!”

La Baume:“So, you are on their side…” he wondered and then continued talking to Oscar…“All right…It´s an order. Only clergy and nobility can get in from the front entrance…”

Oscar couldn’t wait any longer, but she grabbed him and threw him on the steps…Then she turned towards her men…

Oscar:“All French Guards! Open up all the front doors and guide the delegates inside!”

Alain smiled:“Hey, André! It´s good to have you back! How´s your baby?”

André:“We had a beautiful son…” he smiled.

Alain:“Really! That´s great! Congratulations! I hope you named him Alain!” he joked.

André laughed, and then said:“It´s François! And how´s your sister?”

Alain:“Great! She´s helping our mother and works hard. Sometimes she comes to visit me at the barracks.”

Meanwhile the guards had ripped off the seals from the doors and were letting the delegates inside…

La Baume came towards Oscar…

La Baume:“Brigadier Grandier! Are you defying General de Bouille´s order?!”

Oscar:“I don´t mean to, Colonel la Baume. Calm down and observe the crowd.”

They both looked at the crowd and the people did seem frustrated…

Oscar:“A riot will occur if they wait any longer in the rain.”

La Baume:“But you are NOT in charge of the security here! You shouldn´t even BE here!”

Oscar yelled:“Go back and report this to General de Bouille!”

After la Baume had left, Colonel Dagout came to Oscar…

Dagout:“Commander and André, it´s nice to see you looking well…Did you come back?”

Oscar:“Yes, we did. These coming few weeks will be difficult, and we need to unite our assets.”

Dagout:“How is your baby?”

André:“François is fine, thank you. We took him back to our manor to sleep.” he smiled.

“A boy?! That´s just great!” the men cheered. They were happy that their Commander and her husband were back.

Later that day, a man came riding fast to search for Oscar. He told Oscar to bring her men to the headquarters in Versailles.

Oscar:“No! Tell General de Bouille, that I´m not coming!”

Dagout:“But, Commander! I think you really should go there.”

Oscar:“It´s only a trap.”

Dagout:“But still…You can get a serious punishment, if you don´t go.”

Oscar looked at André…She didn´t know what to do…“André?”

André:“He is right. We should go.”

Oscar nodded:“All right.”

Soon, Oscar was standing in front of General de Bouille…

De Bouille:“You were supposed to be retired! Didn´t you just have a baby?!”

Oscar:“I´m back now! I´m capable of taking care of my Company again.”

De Bouille:“Fine! You and your French Guards Company B will be dismissed from the current guarding duty. And I shall talk to your father about your sudden reappearing!”

Oscar:“Why are you doing this?!”

De Bouille:“Why? Arbitrarily opening the front door of the assembly hall would normally be considered as disobeying my order. You would have been arrested and court-martialed. But I´m forgiving you, if you retire the military at once! And never return!”

Oscar:“I´m not afraid of the military court!” she turned away and started to walk towards the door…“I´d like to leave now. My men are waiting for me.”

De Bouille:” I´ll give you a chance to prove you´re worthy…I have an order for you. The French Guards´ Company B will fully arm itself and immediately head back to the assembly hall…and remove all the members of the National Assembly Faction! Use force on those who resist, no matter what they say. If you must, you may open fire on them and kill them.”

Oscar:“But, Your Excellency! They are the representatives of the French people! You´re ordering me to point guns at them?!I will not!”

De Bouille:“Then you leave me no choice. I will have to arrest you for treason.”

De Bouille`s men came towards Oscar and pointed their guns at her…

To be continued…

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