mad men the quality of mercy

News In Aix, 1832 (Barricade Day, 2015)

A/N: For Barricade Day 2015. Please note that Henri Coutard is an OC of mine, and is not the name of any actual member of the Cougourde of Aix.

I’ve always found it interesting that in the chapter “Enjolras and His Lieutenants,”  Enjolras specifically said that he would speak with the members of the Cougourde of Aix, hence my wondering if there was some backstory with them. I am aware though that the surname Enjolras may have roots in the Loire region and not in Provence, so perhaps Hugo had some other theory in mind for Enjolras’ decision that spring day in 1832.

But it’s summer now, and the story has taken a crimson turn…

News In Aix, 1832

From Rue de Enfer, June 8, 1832

My esteemed friend,

I write to you in haste, not knowing what news has already reached Aix concerning the events of the past few days. You may have already heard some account of the riot, the uprising, the rebellion that swept through Paris as a result of General Lamarque’s funeral. If you have, I pray heartily that this prior knowledge will soften the blow of the rest of this message. If you have not, then I beg your deepest forgiveness for being the harbinger of most terrible tidings.

Our town, though far away from Paris, is still a participant in events. I do not speak only of us members of the Cougourde, but even of others you know well.  I speak most especially of Antoine, of course. There were plans—alas, I cannot detail them here—to rise on the occasion of the funeral, but there was also a clamor to wait for July once more. This was not the only sign of discord present, but many of us had hoped that it would be overcome easily enough to allow a unified action. Antoine himself made sure to pay a visit to us on the night before the funeral, to ascertain plans and perhaps work through some misunderstandings. For his part, he was successful.

I was not with him on the occasion of the funeral itself. I caught sight of him and his friends. Combeferre and Courfeyrac with a few others, but I could not join them. We of the Cougourde were tasked to wait opposite the Caserne de Cavelerie. Once the signal was given, we were to take up our position to secure the Ile de Palais. How we were to do that no longer matters. It was not a signal that met us, but a shot directed to a bystander—man, woman, or child, it is unclear to me now. What order there could have been was thrown in disarray and it was everyone to the fortifications, to secure what we could before the National Guard rallied and attacked.

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