The French Revolution by Thomas Carlyle
Volume I. The Bastille
Book 1.VII. The Insurrection of Women
Chapter 1.7.III. Black Cockades
But fancy what effect this Thyestes Repast and trampling on the National Cockade, must have had in the Salle des Menus; in the famishing Bakers'- queues at Paris! Nay such Thyestes Repasts, it would seem, continue. Flandre has given its Counter-Dinner to the Swiss and Hundred Swiss; then on Saturday there has been another.
Yes, here with us is famine; but yonder at Versailles is food; enough and to spare! Patriotism stands in queue, shivering hungerstruck, insulted by Patrollotism; while bloodyminded Aristocrats, heated with excess of high living, trample on the National Cockade. Can the atrocity be true? Nay, look: green uniforms faced with red; black cockades,--the colour of Night! Are we to have military onfall; and death also by starvation? For behold the Corbeil Cornboat, which used to come twice a-day, with its Plaster-of- Paris meal, now comes only once. And the Townhall is deaf; and the men are laggard and dastard!--At the Cafe de Foy, this Saturday evening, a new thing is seen, not the last of its kind: a woman engaged in public speaking. Her poor man, she says, was put to silence by his District; their Presidents and Officials would not let him speak. Wherefore she here with her shrill tongue will speak; denouncing, while her breath endures, the Corbeil-Boat, the Plaster-of-Paris bread, sacrilegious Opera-dinners, green uniforms, Pirate Aristocrats, and those black cockades of theirs!--
Truly, it is time for the black cockades at least, to vanish. Them Patrollotism itself will not protect. Nay, sharp-tempered 'M. Tassin,' at the Tuileries parade on Sunday morning, forgets all National military rule; starts from the ranks, wrenches down one black cockade which is swashing ominous there; and tramples it fiercely into the soil of France. Patrollotism itself is not without suppressed fury. Also the Districts begin to stir; the voice of President Danton reverberates in the Cordeliers: People's-Friend Marat has flown to Versailles and back again;- -swart bird, not of the halcyon kind! (Camille's Newspaper, Revolutions de Paris et de Brabant (in Histoire Parlementaire, iii. 108.)
And so Patriot meets promenading Patriot, this Sunday; and sees his own grim care reflected on the face of another. Groups, in spite of Patrollotism, which is not so alert as usual, fluctuate deliberative: groups on the Bridges, on the Quais, at the patriotic Cafes. And ever as any black cockade may emerge, rises the many-voiced growl and bark: A bas, Down! All black cockades are ruthlessly plucked off: one individual picks his up again; kisses it, attempts to refix it; but a 'hundred canes start into the air,' and he desists. Still worse went it with another individual; doomed, by extempore Plebiscitum, to the Lanterne; saved, with difficulty, by some active Corps-de-Garde.--Lafayette sees signs of an effervescence; which he doubles his Patrols, doubles his diligence, to prevent. So passes Sunday, the 4th of October 1789.
Sullen is the male heart, repressed by Patrollotism; vehement is the female, irrepressible. The public-speaking woman at the Palais Royal was not the only speaking one:--Men know not what the pantry is, when it grows empty, only house-mothers know. O women, wives of men that will only calculate and not act! Patrollotism is strong; but Death, by starvation and military onfall, is stronger. Patrollotism represses male Patriotism: but female Patriotism? Will Guards named National thrust their bayonets into the bosoms of women? Such thought, or rather such dim unshaped raw- material of a thought, ferments universally under the female night-cap; and, by earliest daybreak, on slight hint, will explode.