Paris, June 5th 1832
“La Liberte ou la Mort,” yelled the man in front as he raised a blood red flag.
Monsieur Bertrand was pushed aside by an angry mob. “Jeunes irrespectueuse,” he yelled at them.
As a man of nearly fifty, he had long taken pride in his job as a skilled artisan. Unlike many of his republican comrades who had gathered for the funeral of General Lamarque, he wasn’t poor but he was a strong opponent of the Orleans Monarchy. Two years prior, the chamber of deputies had ousted King Louis X, and he was replaced by his distant cousin King Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orleans.
Now the roar of the crowd was deafening. Lafayette who had just completed his speech, was calling for calm amongst the roaring republicans. Gunshots pierced the roar like a sword slicing through armour. The crowd swelled and the Place de la Bastille was soon filled with chants of anger.
Monsieur Bertrand stroked his grey-beard as the crowd rushed out of the square onto Rue de Revoli. He ambled behind them to see where they were heading.
By evening, the revolutionaries had controlled the eastern half of Paris and were heading toward Tuileries Palace on the right bank of the Seine. Monsieur Bertrand walked down the street towards Faubourg Saint-Antonie. He took a left turn onto Rue de Dahomey and arrived at Number 8.
He closed the heavily decorated garden gate and wandered down the cobblestone path up to the old oak door. He could still hear the distant gunfire of a clash somewhere far off. He hammered the iron door knocker, and heard the plunk of footsteps coming from inside the house. There was the clink of the chain which held the door and the slow moan of the handle.
The door opened and the appetizing smell of quiches filled the air. A short, grey-haired lady stood at the doorway, wiping egg yolk onto her white apron.
“Bonsoir, Monsieur Bertrand,” she chimed “dîner est prêt.”
“Merci beaucoup, Marie,” replied Monsieur Bertrand in his usual growl.
He went inside and shoved his coat and hat on the coat hanger. He turned to a small antique oak table and saw that there was a letter awaiting him. A warning wrapped in brown paper and upon it was the royal Coat of Arms.
To: Monsieur Raphael de Bertrand
8 Rue de Dahomey
Paris, Kingdom de la France
by Arjuna S, Year 9, Hillmorton High School
This wonderful story was Highly Commended in our "What Year is It?" competition for Write On Issue 55: Time Travel.
NB: Arjuna gave permission for some small edits.
Copyright: Arjuna S and Write On 2020