restricted access 21. Hooray for Reform!
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21 o Hooray for Reform! The February Revolution—Châteauroux’s Nonexistence and the Crudeness of the Berry People—A Tree of Freedom and a Quart of Wine    I went fora walk with Frisette.Therewere many people in the streets, all whispering. I approached several groups and listened, and did not understand a word they were saying. Once we reached the boulevard, the crowds were bigger. All we could make out amid the noisewas theword ‘‘reform!’’ I stopped a young man and asked him what that meant. He replied, ‘‘We want reform.’’ ‘‘Oh! And what kind of reform?’’ He shrugged his shoulders and walked away without answering. We were on the Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle, in front of the Café de France.Therewere many young men at thewindows. Some of them recognized us and began toyell, ‘‘Hooray for Mogador! Hooray for Frisette! Hooray for reform and beautiful women!’’ The curious and the strollers gathered around us.The air was charged with peril. I went into the house at number . I knew Madame Emburgé and asked her for permission to wait at her house until there were fewer people outside. She opened a window and we saw this blue-speckled, black stream called the populace march by. It reminded me of Lyon. However, since everyone must dine, even those who want to wage war, around six o’clock the streets were more passable. ‘‘Have dinner with me,’’ said Frisette.    I accepted. It was ten o’clock when we parted. When I reached the Rue Le Peletier, I heard an explosion. ‘‘Where are you going?’’ a man asked me.  Hooray for Reform! ‘‘But, monsieur, I would like to get home on the Place de la Madeleine .’’ ‘‘Well, then, take another route. They have just fired on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.’’ I took the Rue Basse-du-Rempart. It was empty. I continued quietly. I was thinking about Lionel. ‘‘A revolution,’’ I was telling myself! ‘‘A revolution, which ruins and forces the nobility to go into hiding. . . . Oh! If only Lionel needed me, needed my life!’’ At the corner of the Rue Caumartin, the pharmacy had been transformed into a temporary first aid post. When I got back home I wrote Lionel about everything I had seen, telling him for the first time, ‘‘Do not come.’’ I could not sleep. Everyone in the house was up. At four o’clock in the morning, someone knocked on the outside door. ‘‘Open, open!’’ I told the concierge. . . . Him, him, at a time like this! . . . ‘‘Oh! Lionel, why did you come to Paris? I was happy to know you were in Berry!’’ ‘‘I can leave if I am in the way!’’ ‘‘In the way! . . . Oh! Now really, am I not allowed to have a good thought?’’ ‘‘My dear child, I did not know what was going on! I left Châteauroux yesterday. When I got to the station, I could not find a carriage. I brought my suitcase over my shoulder.’’ The day after his arrival he joined the first legion of the National Guard.The Madeleine post was set on fire! Powderand loaded guns that had been left there were exploding every minute. Lionel came home at five, black with dust and worn out. He had helped tear down the barricades. There was a commotion under my windows. Approximately a hundred men, nicely dressed, looking rather reasonable, had gathered and were talking. Finally they all went to the carriage station and set fire to the little shed used by the watchman. They were the neighborhood coachmen having some fun, just like in Lyon. Only there, it was because of the tariffs. ’         The next day we left for Berry. At Etampes I began to breathe easier. I had not dared ask him about his marriage plans. He was the one who told me that he had been rejected.  Hooray for Reform! Lionel, young, elegant, with a name and a fortune, should have succeeded at anything. But he had one fault that was a constant obstacle in his life: he was not emotionally stable. I thought I had detected a great strength of character in him, but I was wrong; he had a violent temperament . He did not know how to restrain his passions and his desires. He loved me, and I must have been the reason for many of his uncertainties . I could not rise to his level, and he blamed me for having to come down to mine. And yet, out of a...


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