~Beyond the Barricade~ Part 2
Try as she might, Angeline couldn't get the June Rebellion out of her head. It bothered her that she didn't know anything about her father's experiences there. She wanted to beg him to tell her every little detail. Even Mademoiselle Barousse refused to tell her anything. Angeline suspected her father had told her tutor to mention nothing else on the subject. It was slowly eating her up, not knowing about events that had occurred in her own father's life. She had looked through books on the French Revolution, hoping to find something helpful. Yet, there was nothing. She was becoming impatient.
One day, Angeline remembered that her father had a book full of his accounts as a young man. A sort of journal that he wrote years after the events took place. And she knew exactly where it was at. In her father's study, in his desk. Now all she had to do was wait for her father to leave the house.
Angeline was sitting in a ornate chair which was situated by the window in her room. A book was positioned on her lap, but she wasn't really reading. Her mother entered.
"Come, Darling, we're going for a walk." Cosette said, gently. Angeline had been quite temperamental after the events of the week before.
"Oh, Mama, I'd quite enjoy a walk but I feel quite faint. Perhaps I could stay here and Papa and yourself could enjoy the walk." Angeline said. She wasn't lying, she truly felt faint. Faint with excitement of the fact that she might finally figure out what happened at the Barricade.
"Oh, well, if you are sure.... You will be fine here on your own? We will be gone but thirty minutes." Cosette said, hesitating.
"I'll be perfectly, Mama. Go on." Angeline urged. Cosette leaned over and gave her child a kiss on the forehead. As Cosette left the room, a tear fell down her cheek. Her precious little daughter was growing quickly into a woman. Cosette realized what her father must have gone through as Cosette had fallen in love with Marius. A day did not go by without Cosette thinking about her dear father, Jean Valjean. He wasn't her true father, he had rescued Cosette as a child from a ruthless Innkeeper and his wife. Cosette's mother, Fantine, had been a worker at Jean Valjean's factory, but after an accident, was fired. Fantine had turned to prostitution so she could pay for Cosette to stay with the innkeepers. Valjean found out about Fantine's circumstances and promised her that he would take care of her daughter. Fantine later died. Cosette hadn't had any knowledge of this until weeks after she had been married, when Jean Valjean died. He had given her a letter with the story of her mother and the time he spent in prison. Cosette was still confused but it was nice to know more about her father, who had been so quiet during Cosette's youth.
After her father and mother had left, Angeline left her room, sneaking toward Marius' study. She wasn't sure why she was sneaking, since there was no one in the house except for the few maids and the cook and they were not anywhere close by. She opened the door and breathed in the smell of the books that lined the walls. Her father had a distinct love of books after working as a translator of manuscripts. Angeline glided over to the big oak desk. There were a million letters scattered over the glossy top of the beautiful wooded object. She sifted through the documents until she found a familiar leather-bound book. She had seen her father write in it so many time, she was surprised it wasn't full. She turned towards the front of the book, looking for the words barricade or friends. On the fifth page, she found an very short entry:
On the days of 5-7 June, I lost many friends. I cannot express the sadness I felt when I learned they had all died. I cannot recount those days, not even here. This is a book for myself to remember events that have happened in my life and I am quite sure I will never forget those nights on the Barricade. But, I have decided to include a list of my friends who died on the barricade:
Lesgle de Meaux
Angeline was surprised at the fact there was a woman's name among those of the deceased. Angeline then saw a small scribbles on the bottom of the page. They read:
Try to send Courfeyrac's Maria money at least once a month.
Angeline assumed Maria must have been this Courfeyrac's wife or sister. Suddenly, Angeline was struck with an magnificent idea. She could go and try to find these men's families. Perhaps learn more about them! It wouldn't take her to long, she figured. Just a few days. Her parents wouldn't miss her too badly. She would be back before they were too worried. She quickly exited the study and hurried to her bedroom. She grabbed a few articles of clothing and shoved it into a small bag. She sneaked down to the kitchens and soon found that the cook was at the market. She slipped a few loafs of bread and few blocks of cheese into the bag as well. She grabbed a slip of paper and quickly jotted down the words:
Mama and Papa,
Please do not be worried. I won't be gone for long. I haven't been kidnapped or anything of that sort. I've just got to know more about your friends and your night on the barricade. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this, but I won't come home until I do.
My love always,
She placed the letter on the staircase banister, hoping her mother and father would find it. She slipped out of the house through the servants door and hurried off into the spring afternoon.
Over and Out!