02 March 1993

Wild Jacobins!

Wife-Mate and I were in Paris, walking along the Quai de la Tournelle, when we came across a store that specialized in Napoleonic memorabilia. Right in the store window, for instance, they had the Marquis de LaFayette’s sword and Bonapart’s ink-well. I knew full well that any store that could put artifacts worth millions of Francs right in the window had nothing that I could possibly afford, yet i thought that if I were to go in and ask to see something particularly obscure, they might just respect my erudition enough to indulge me. So we went in, and, being approached by a fastidious man in a black velvet suit, I presumed to ask:

Dutchman: I can’t possibly afford anything you have here but, just the same, do you have anything of Marshal Brune’s?

Fastidious Proprietor: [responding warmly to my esoteric request] Oui Monsieur! I have a poem by the marshal!

He then led us to the back, where he pulled open a drawer and, there beneath a pane of glass, was indeed a holographic poem by the Great Man.

Wife-Mate: Say, my husband is always talking about this Marshal Brune, just who is he anyway?

Fastidious Proprietor: Oh, Madame, Brune was a wild Jacobin! Why, when he was sent to suppress the royalist revolt in the Vendee, he rounded up all of the Whites, and he loaded them onto a barge in the middle of the Sevre river, and then ...

Wife-Mate: [interrupting] Then he sunk the barge!

Fastidious Proprietor: Oh, you know the story?

Wife-Mate: No, I know my husband; that’s what he would do!