~Beyond the Barricade~
It was a bright, cheery spring morning in Paris, France. The year was 1855. It was warm, with a light breeze blowing. The fragrance of the freshly bloomed flowers filled the air. Baron and Baroness Pontmercy were walking through the streets, hand in hand. Even after 23 years of marriage, the couple was still in love. A young girl, about fifteen or sixteen years of age, trailed behind them. She had lovely chestnut hair and big blue eyes. She had a pensive expression on her face as the group meandered through the streets of Paris. The Baroness turned around and spoke,
"Darling, why are you trailing so far behind us? Please, come and join us, dearest."
The young girl walked forward, closer to them.
"You are being quite quiet today, Angeline." The Baron pointed out.
"I have many things on my mind, Papa." Angeline responded, with a small smile. She studied her father. He had nice clothes, but they didn't look like the clothes of a Baron. They were plain. The small family lived very simply. They didn't hold grand balls or fancy dinners. They used as little money as they possibly could. The rest of the money was saved or donated to the unfortunate. They were the benefactors to many charities. They were happy, though. They were a very close family. Angeline was an only child, though The Baron and Baroness would have liked to have more children. Angeline was a bright girl who had inherited her mother's kind and gentle nature and her father's talent with foreign languages.
"And what is on your mind?" Her father asked, a bit concerned.
"Oh, nothing, really. It is only that my tutor, Mademoiselle Barousse, has been teaching me about the French Revolution these past few weeks and yesterday was informing me about the few events that happened afterwards. The battles fought for the same causes that the Revolution fought for? Well, Papa, she informed me that you were at the June Rebellion! Now, I know she probably was fabricating a fanciful tale so that I would be entranced by my lessons, but I just can't seem to get the account out of my mind!" Angeline explained, waiting for a response.
She expected her Father to burst out laughing, telling her that her tutor had a large imagination. But, instead, Baron Marius Pontmercy, was silent. Angeline looked at her parent in confusion. She turned to The Baroness.
"Mama, why did Papa fall silent? It isn't true, is it? It cannot be true! The June Rebellion occurred around the time when you and Papa first met. He wouldn't have risked his life at a barricade when he had you!"
Baroness Cosette Pontmercy had not a slightest notion on how to respond. She glanced at her husband, unsure how to answer her daughter.
"Yes, Angeline, I did fight in the rebellion, alongside my closest friends. They all expired on the barricade." Marius explained in a serious voice.
Angeline's eyes grew wide. "You mean to tell me that you fought in the June Rebellion? You?" She shrieked, obtaining disapproving glances from the strangers on the street.
"Angeline, keep your voice down! It is not ladylike to scream like an insane woman. You must be rational about this!" Cosette hissed at her daughter. Sometimes Cosette didn't know what to do with Angeline. She loved her immensely, of course, but sometimes she could forget all manners and embarrassed Cosette.
"Yes, I was in the June Rebellion. And I witnessed things that no human being should ever witness." Marius said to his daughter.
"And why does Mademoiselle Barousse know about this and not I, your daughter?" Angeline murmured, practically hysterical. Her parents had always been truthful with her. Or at least she thought them honest.
"The subject came up during her interview. She had a brother at a barricade and she wondered if it had been ours. He wasn't. I deduct that she assumed you knew. Now please, let us leave the subject at that." The Baron explained firmly.
"I am having a difficult time comprehending that my dearest parents kept this from me. What is next? Will I learn that your name isn't really Cosette? That you are not even my mother?" The Daughter fumed.
The Baroness blushed, "My true name is Euphrasie, but no one has ever referred to me as that. But I am your mother, believe me that."
"I am not sure what to believe any longer!" Angeline exclaimed.
"Now, dear, stop this. We didn't believe it was important to tell you. It was a battle nearly 23 years ago. Please don't act like this!" Marius said, gently.
"Well, tell me about it. I want to know about your friends! About the battle! Was it scary? Exciting? I wish to know every little detail!" Angeline said, her eyes full of excitement.
"Darling, I know you are interested and I'm pleased with that but I do not want to reawake those wretched, miserable memories. Please, just leave it alone."
"But-" Angeline began, but The Baron interrupted.
"No, leave it. I do not want to have this argument, Angeline. I say again, leave it alone."
The family finished their walk in silence. Angeline couldn't get it out of her mind. Her father in the June Rebellion! She knew she would have to know more, even if it wasn't through her father. She would find out about his friends and that night on the barricade.
Hope you enjoyed!
Over and Out!