July 20, 1789
The afternoon of the 14th, my father, a journalist for the local newspaper received word to go to the Bastille in Paris in order to get a first person experience of the event. I hadn’t a clue what I’d be seeing; I figured it was just another market-related squabble. As we approached our destination, I realized it was something bigger. I remember a sea of people- livid faces- artillery- blood- lots and lots of blood. There were over 800 present, in fact. I asked my father what had come to pass, but he was too busy taking notes for the paper and trying to hear everything. The shouts were deafening and people were pushing and shoving from all around me. A few minutes after standing amongst this crowd of enraged possessors of guns and other equipment, I heard a voice rise above the rest. I was able to make out parts of it;
“…this very night all the Swiss and German battalions will leave the Champ de Mars to massacre us all; one resource is left; to take arms!”
At this there were more shouts and arms were thrust into the air holding weaponry- some of them already soiled with blood and other human remains. I had nothing else to do- I sat myself on the ground and wept. However, my father pulled me back up because, if I’d have stayed there, I’d have been trampled. Many were injured and open fire was held by the guards of the prison as the mob collapsed the drawbridge. There was no mercy.
We all knew something bad would be happening very soon after the nobles revolted against the kings increased taxes and after the Tennis Court Oath. In addition, ever since Jacques Necker, King Louis XVI’s financial minister was released from his position, we really did know it was going to roll downhill. His release occurred a week or so ago- the eleventh, to be exact- and word got around to us by the day after. Everyone knew this would lead to a horrible situation and rumors even started going around that week. I didn’t much understand what everyone was talking about; however, it was something about the Royal Troops with plans of shutting down the National Assembly. I don’t really pay much attention to this whole “National Assembly”. In all honesty, they haven’t really done anything but stir up everyone’s fear- especially those peasants. It actually makes me angry to think of them. I am only a child, still, and have not yet been introduced to the world of business and such; however, I know that the National Assembly affects me as well as the other bourgeoisies through many things. They make business so difficult for us all! They have enforced more tariffs, have brought monopolies, and have even made trade with other countries so very difficult! Those pigs care only for themselves!
Anyway, as things got to be a little more understandable in the days after the event itself. I have been informed that, before heading to the Bastille, this mob of angry people- made up of the sans-culottes- had broken into the Hotel des Invalides and stolen around 30,000- yes thirty thousand- muskets! Of course, they had no bullets or gunpowder, and so, they were futile. This, I have learned, is why they went to the Bastille. Yes, the Bastille is a prison- but rumor had it that they were storing gunpowder and weaponry there. The mob needed those, I suppose, if they planned to revolt against the National Assembly. Luckily there was only one reported dead (even though people believe that six to eight may have been killed after surrender) but there were ninety-eight casualties. Nothing was reported of the seven inmates at the Bastille. As for the king- I hope he has learned a lesson from all of this! It’s about time that he starts acting more like a king and starts caring about us!
That day of the fourteenth had stretched on still. I believe that hours had passed since I arrived slightly after three in the afternoon and I was still amongst angry sans-culottes looking up at the massive prison with its eight towers of cold stone reaching hundreds of feet into the sky. For the first time, someone emerged from the Bastille. I was later informed that this was Bernard René Jourdan, A French governor of the prison. I believe he intended to stop the bloodshed, but he was terribly incorrect to attempt this. Before you knew it, his head was on a stick, painted red with spurting blood, and held high above the crowds. I understand that these lower-class citizens may be furious with the government situation and their inability to purchase enough grain, but this was much too violent! I, myself, am angry, but I would never stoop to this level- or so I thought.
I don’t quite recall what occurred towards the end of the day. I have the faintest recollection of myself joining into the madness- but I try not to think of it. I didn’t have anything to revolt against. I have enough food and plenty of job opportunities unlike the peasants in the mob, but I suppose I still was angry for the sake of difficult trade for my people. I, luckily, was not injured in the storming, but I do have a ruminant of it still with me. When all was over, I looked at my skirt and chemise. On it was the notorious stain of blood.
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