3 November 1793
The bells are ringing in Saint-Germain-des-Prés across the Seine. I pull my shawl tighter with each peal as I try to keep my slippers clean as I walk as quickly down the Rue Honoré. The pale pink shoes are the only nice thing I have on. It wouldn’t do to wear the matching silk gown. Papa would have noticed that slipping out the back gate. I borrowed the dress and shawl from Claire, but her feet were too big and her boots clunked and slipped when I walked. I glance up at the darkening sky.
A shout from a man on a mud-splattered white horse stops me. I nearly ran into its path. I turn and cling to a lamppost and lean my cheek into it, squeezing my eyes shut tight. Maybe this is a bad idea.
I came down to breakfast this morning to find Mama fretting around the house, her handkerchief pressing into her reddened eyes. I followed her to the blue parlor at the back of our townhouse.
“Mama?” I ask, placing a hand on her arm and turning her toward me. Her eyes dancing everywhere but on me. “Mama? What is wrong?”
Papa slams open the front door, thumps hurriedly down the hall, bursts upon us, and heads straight to the cognac on the sideboard. Two glasses later, he turns to us.
“It must be tonight, Mama.” She nods. Her eyes seem to focus as her pupils expand engulfing the blue into black.