Curious Proposal of the Women of the Maubert Marketplace (1785)
After having heard that the Queen and the Dauphin were coming to Paris, thefishwives gathered, drank some wine and Mrs. Tripodin, after having bowed,said in a loud voice: . . . "why should not we talk now? And only those whohave pride will not say a word. . . . When the Queen comes, we will go inthe middle of the street, surround her coach, compliment her, and ask if wecould raise the Dauphin the way we do with our kids. . . .
"He is so nice. When he was born, I sent him flowers. We will take goodcare of him, because these doctors kill our Princes while they think theyare curing them.
"We will take care of him as if he was a bird, he will become as happy as apinch-mark. We will be his governesses. And you can trust me that thingswill go much better with us than with all these Court Ladies who frolicabout all day long, while the young Prince yawns his head off and looks assad as the oven of a kitchen where there is no fire.
"I saw this charming Prince. People called him Monsieur; he was like arelic which you praises and that does not answer.
"When we take care of him, he will chatter like a magpie; he will jump likea kid, and he will eat everything we give him, sometimes good, sometimesbad. We will make him have a royal heart, but his stomach will be likeours. He will eat potatoes and drink some wine like we do when we feel likedrinking some. We will protect him."
Everybody applauded this proposal, as the People want a Prince like them.
"Our good King," they all say while laughing, "will be so satisfied that hewill thank us. He is good the way he is, but if we had raised him, he wouldhave thrown out of the window all the Secretaries that have tied him up."
"Oh!" said one of them, "I will take this friendly Prince to listen to ourpriest's sermon, so he will hear about God. Because at the Court, there areonly soft sermons, in which nothing is said, and no piety to be found. Hewill have friends who will flatten his pride, and also they will take himto see some craftsmen so he will see the sweat going down their foreheadand this will teach him something when he becomes King." . . .
The gathering ate soup on a huge table. They drank to the King's, theQueen's, the Prince's and the Nation's health. Each fishwife had a funnelon their mouth where plenty of wine was going through.
They ended the session by making a proposal whose object was to marry allfisher-women, daughters or widows, to Soldiers of the French Guard, inorder to perpetuate the Parisian race.