Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Poor Butcher."

I watched her covertly for a moment, then I said, "I used to think of a story with your daughter, and I think of it even more with you." She smiled, a little uncertainly. "It's probably not true, but it's about Marie Antoinette and a butcher. The butcher led a mob into the palace at Versailles. He had a cleaver in his hand and he was shouting that he was going to cut Marie Antoinette's throat. The mob killed the guards and the butcher forced the door of the royal apartments. At last he rushed into her bedroom. She was alone. Standing by a window. There was no one else there. The butcher with a cleaver in his hand and the queen."

"What happened?"

"He fell on his knees and burst into tears."

She was silent for a moment.

"Poor butcher."

"I believe that's exactly what Marie Antoinette said."

"Doesn't everything depend on who the butcher was crying for?"

I looked away from her eyes.

"No, I don't think so."

-- John Fowles, "The Magus"

No comments: