Aria (pyrrhiccomedy) wrote,

The Fishwives' March

The Fishwives' March - France, Marie Antoinette.
The moment France turned against the monarchy and joined the mob during the French Revolution.
Genre: Drama.
1789. PG-13.

Just something short.

Click here to read this fic in Russian. Translation by dershternen.


Versailles. October 6, 1789.

"What is happening outside?"

France ignored his queen and gazed out the window at the assembled crowd. The plaza of Versailles and its white flagstones were impossible to see. A mob of fifteen thousand filled the square, dirty brown and surging: flashing, too, from knife edges, and the dull shine of cannons dragged in from God knew where...

Marie Antoinette's slim hand came to rest on his arm; she looked at him, not at the crowd. "Who are they?" she insisted.

France wet his lips. "They are the--"

"Who has organized them?" she held her dressing gown shut across her breasts.

"I don't believe anyone has organized them."

"Who are they?" she repeated, louder. Her ladies in waiting raised their heads from where they huddled in the corner.

France shook his head. A lock of hair slipped out from behind his ear, and he replaced it. "They're no one, your Majesty."

"Oh, please don't be frivolous now--" she whisked away from the window and fluttered about her chambers like a trapped moth: she touched the draping lace canopy over her bed, touched her jewelry box, alighted on a slim red velvet chair, too distant from the others.

"I am not." France twitched the curtain open wider. The crowd was thickest around the gate, breast to back and all their shoulders set against the door. It shuddered. France would swear he could feel something shudder somewhere inside himself in response. "They are--Parisian fishwives."


"Oh, yes…" his voice was faded. "Brawny, stout-legged girls who--"

Bang--the palace gate shattered open, and a thick bulb formed in the crowd, a tightening and a drain, as so many bodies flushed in--

"--Couldn't even sign their own names," he finished.

"Are they inside?" The queen demanded, a shrill note in her voice--as if she could not hear them.

France felt an odd smile turn up the corner of his mouth. Thunder rolled up from the lower halls: a stampede of clogs and sandaled feet. "Just now--yes."

"God preserve us…" Marie Antoinette jerked to her feet and stumbled back a few steps. "What do they want?"

France turned to face her. "Do you know, I have never much liked you, Your Majesty."

The Queen's eyes widened. "What?"

"Do you know what they call you?" A crash from downstairs: and the rising sound of howling voices. "'Madame Deficit.' Putting on your gilded plays while the people starve. I will admit that it doesn't roll off the tongue quite the way I would like it to--"

"France! What do they want!"

"They want bread, I should think." France pushed off the lintel, his hands in his pockets. He was smiling openly, now. "And gunpowder--did you even hear how they raided the Bastille for gunpowder? An unarmed mob tore the building into rubble, a brick at a time--" Bodies slammed against the walls in the downstairs hallway, and France heard the sharp scream of--of one of the palace guards: grabbed and dragged down and torn to pieces by dozens of hands-- "I was rather fond of the Bastille, in a strange way…"

"Louis? --Louis?" There was a secret passageway beside the bed: Marie Antoinette threw open the door.

"But just now, I think, what they want is you, Madame."

"Louis!" Marie Antoinette fled, her white robe snapping behind her, her attendants scrambling in her wake. Her voice echoed in the dark and narrow corridor. "Louis, where are you!"

France dropped back against the windowsill and started to laugh, weak and shaking and unstoppable. It rose into him through that tremble in the marble floor, into the soles of his feet--it made its way into his bones: climbed his legs and shot up his spine and then France wondered if he was crying, as mirth gripped him and shook him so hard the room blurred. "They want you, Madame Deficit, you Austrian whore," he cried after her, sagging back against the wall, "But even more than you--your Majesty, are you listening to them at last? They've come here for me!"


-- The March on Versailles by the hungry women of Paris was a turning point in the French Revolution. The King and his family were forced to return with the crowd back to Paris, essentially as prisoners, accompanied by the severed heads of their own royal guard. Thereafter, it was the National Assembly which governed France, as the King was compelled to sign away more and more of the power of the monarchy in a losing war for influence which eventually ended in his execution.


You can look at a directory of all of my Hetalia fic here!

Tags: fanfic, france
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