The question for the Western Civilizations Mid Term was something like "It is 1790 and you are a French peasant. Explain your life and times."

Ok imagination, let 'er rip.....

My Dear Cousin Henri,

I will try to write this in your new American language so that you will understand. Even though we've never met, I will try to answer your questions about what is going on here, back in France.

Things are looking better, as opposed to our Grandfather's time. We have learned about new food crops like potatoes and beans. Not only are they good to eat, but by changing what we plant in the field each year (you know...wheat one year, beans the next, then potatoes) we are able to grow our own food almost every year. Also, I now have my own field, all to myself. I don't have that idiot Jacques trampling my rows or stealing my grain after he's had too much wine.

Most years we have enough to even keep a few goats. The milk and meat are sure nice. I think it may even be a little better for us. I am now the age my father was when he died, but I'm feeling stronger than ever. My wife, Nanette, and I have three children of our own and they are nearly grown themselves. We have only lost one along the way. Fully half of my mother's children, my brothers and sisters, never survived to be tall enough to even milk the goats.

They say this idea of growing food each year came from the Dutch. I say the Dutch stole the idea from the French.

I also hear that there are machines in England that actually plant seed under the soil for you. Have you heard of this also? If there is such a machine I must have one. But we all know that such a device could not really come from those barbarians. I say, if it really exists, they stole it from some French genius.

The last few years have been a little rough, though, Even with the new ideas, I have barely been able to grow enough to feed Nanette, the kids, and the goats. I don't know how they're getting by in Paris. I know that I don't have any extra to sell them. But I am sure that this year will be better.

In case you haven't heard, we are going to be a Republic. Just like you in America, only we're going to do it better! The village banker here went to Paris last year to tell Louis just what we thought, but he was locked out of the Estates-General. So he, and more like him, met a tennis court of all places. There they declared themselves to be the true National Assembly.

Well, the King's whore told them to go home. But that just made the poor Parisians mad. The Parisians felt certain that the whore would come after them with her soldiers next, so they stormed the Bastille to get guns to defend themselves. And surprisingly, they got away with it.

Well, that inspired a few of us here to go visit the Marquis. He had all the best land and houses and things, but he only got them by stealing our blood and sweat. If Paris could have the Bastille, then we could have the Marquis' fields.

When the Marquis resisted our demands, we set his manor house alight. He ran away. Andre and a few others found his book where he keeps track of the taxes he says we owe to him. They burned it, so I guess that means there's no taxes any more. And, by the way, a few days afterwards the National Assembly decided that we must be right. We are now free men and we got to split the Marquis' land up between us. This year, I will have two fields. I should now become rich.

Before the Marquis became an émigré, we caught up with him and gave him one last thrashing just for good measure.

By the way, I met a man the other day named Messier Robespierre. He told me that he was going to Paris to watch for me in case Louis and his whore ever tried anything else. He was a very nice man. We need more people like him.

Well, that's all for now, Henri. Write and tell me something of your American life. Au revoir.

Your cousin, Antoine

Last Updated 5/12/2008 9:10:22 PM by 'Editor'

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