A major historical find in the cellars of the British Museum has thrown new light on the reign of terror that gripped France just prior to the rise of the cardsharp, midget and Freemason called Napoleon Bonaparte.
Historians consider the French Revolution one of the most important events in history, second only to the invention of canned baked beans. It ushered in the period of Enlightenment and the advent of decapitation as an acceptable and efficient form of population control.
The causes of the French Revolution are still hotly debated among academics as is the gender of Michelle Obama, the identity of artist Banksy and the sanity of George Bush Junior.
The document was written by Bartholomew Tremblay, England's ambassador to France 1790-93 who had been sent to prevent the imprisonment of a distant cousin of England's King George 111. It is said that the king was later to go mad because it was mooted to him that in Ireland he was popularly known as "George De Turd".
Fifi Bellerose, seamstress to Marie Antoinette, was arrested in a Paris haberdashery where she had gone to purchase a hundred metres of silk in order to make handkerchiefs for the royal family.
However, Tremblay failed miserably in his mission to stop her arrest because of incompetence on the one hand and a weakness for Parisian brothels on the other where he spent most of his time.
Thus a remorseful Tremblay felt it was his moral duty to visit Fifi Bellerose at least once if only to report to the king that he tried his best.
On his return to London and shortly before committing suicide by jumping into the river Thames, Bartholomew Temblay left this report of his meeting with the ill-fated Miss Bellerose.
The document makes clear that the girl was totally unaware of her circumstances and mindless of the fact that she has been sentenced to death.
"I am sorry to say that by the time you read this I will have taken leave of the barbarities of this world. I had hoped to help in the edification of the human race through culture, education, introducing the English to l'escargot and the delights of frogs' legs lightly cooked in garlic butter etc, etc; but, I realise belatedly, that this is no longer possible. Man is a monkey, I have learnt, with the appetites of a common carnivore, dress himself up as he may and indeed must. Although I had warmed to this view on many occasions it was only when I had occasion to visit the delectable Fifi Bellerose, the Queen's seamstress, at the accursed Tuileries where she was imprisoned that the full horror of what has befallen the human race was brought home to my mind.
I found the poor damsel alone in her cell. I saw a charming girl of light complexion, blonde hair and large eyes. Any man would have given a coach and pair just to be with her for a night. She laughed with all the abandon of a young schoolgirl; as I write I can still hear that wonderful laughter trilling like the silver notes of the Nightingale into my ears.
As soon as I entered the tiny cell of that horrible dungeon where she was held she came over to me and stared into my face like a young puppy staring at its master:
"Monsieur Tremblay they have deprived me of my favoureet sweet dessert." Then taking me by the hand: "What eez zat zing I can see shroo de bars of my cell.
"Zat funny black zing rising up to zee sky?"
"Oh that?... that... that's... a... guillotine... Mademoiselle."
"A guillotine (laughing). What a fonneee name! It look so ridiculous. My maid sometime come in and puts a curtain over zee window so I cannot see eeeet. And sometime I hear lots of people all around it... and zen... nozink! Just a single sound like a baby slapping its leetle hand on a table. Zen a great cheer go up. It eez so funny, Monsieur. What is zees gullotine? "
"Well.... may I have a glass of water? Its... mmmm... it's a device for... (coughing) removing the ... the... head."
"Removing zee ed? Non Monsieur! Whoooz ed?
"But I am only zurty two years of old."
"What has age...? I mean you... you are young."
A single frown appeared on her beautiful blanched brow; a brow as smooth, as translucent as polished amethyst, soft and gleaming as tulip leaves. I longed to touch it, to kiss it... but in my mind's eye I saw it already rolling around a basket beneath the blade.
"No one should have their head cut off before zee age of forty! I will not permit it! Zat is my final worrrd, Monsieur. Go tell my footman, immediatement!"
"I'm afraid there is nozink" I replied. "I mean nothing... I can do,... Fifi."
"Oh.... I feel faint. Pleeze, what would anyone want wiz my ed? I need it to zink wiz. Without my ed... I would be dead, n'est-ce pas?"
"That is the main idea, Fifi."
"And my bouffant Monsieur Tremblay! What man who eez a man dare touch my bouffant? Do you know how serious zees is? Why?"
I was quite taken aback at her naievty. Had nobody told her anything? My nights at carousing with the Parisian magistrates who had sent her here were coming back to me in waves of self-contempt. Our shared hatred of the so-called aristocracy, how they all deserved to die... What did any of it mean to me now? I did not know what to say:
"I... I... really don't know... Fifi. Removing heads is all the rage these days in Paris. They say a Jesuit came up the with idea... for the glory of God."
"And I bet eeeeee had a head to come up with zees idea and steel has eet. Am I right, Monsieur?"
"Perfectly... right. There are people in this world who believe they are gods with authority over all the world and all the people in it, my poor Fifi. I would think three hundred years from now they will still be around."
"Have I been a bad girl, Monsieur Tremblay? It is becoze of my friendship with the king and queen that I am eer. N'est-ce pas? Where eez Marie? Why does she not come to see me? I have not seen her in months. I have made petticoats for hurr and scarves to keep hurr warm in ze winter and dawzens of handkercheefs."
"I'm afraid Fifi... Queen Marie Antoinette... is no longer with us."
She stared at me in horror. Such hurt in those big brown eyes. I see them now, torching my soul with their innocent honesty.
"She has returned to Versailles! I knew eeet! Why does nobody tell me zeez things?" She paused. I could see she was trembling from head to foot her slender, little fingers clutching the handkerchief she had been embroidering as I entered. "I want to leave!"
"I am afraid you cannot... Fifi."
"You are in jail, Fifi."
"I have to go wee wee."
"There's a bucket it the corner."
"I want to go home, Monsieur! I want to go to a masqued ball at the palace. Marie will be needing me."
"I am afraid Fifi...you are not listening. Marie is no longer with us. Comprends-toi? She is dead,... morte... as a maggot."
"What... what eez a maggottt, Monsieur?"
"It's... never mind."
"I zink I might dress up like a leetle guillotine. Or I will have one in my hurr..., my glorious bouffant... what do you zink? Why are they keeping me ere?"
"I am afraid dear, dear Fifi ... that you are in denial. You are not zinking... I mean thinking... clearly."
"But I am, Monsieur! I know they cannot cut off my ed becoze... becoze... it would keeel me."
I was sinking in quicksands of grief trying hard to show it. It was those big dark eyes so full of disbelief and fear. I blurted:
"I'm not sure... I ... can stay here much longer ma belle ... Fif... Fifi.
"Why are you crying, Monsieur Tremblay?"
"I have a lump in my throat. Do you mind if I unbutton my collar? I must go."
"So? Go then! And I must read my beloved Racine. He knows what beauty is, zee golden trembling leaves of autumn, the leetle birds singing on zee rooftops... and such feelings! His words melt in my heart Monsieur Tremblay like leetle snowflakes. His poems are honey to my earrrrs. What is zat zing outside my window Monsieur Trembly, zeez guillotine? Why are you still crying?"
"Nothing, Fifi. I really must go. I have a coach to catch. I must return to London. I have an urgent need to ...to see the Thames... one last time. I have no idea why... but I will know when I get there. Farewell Mademoiselle Bellerose."
"Zank you Monsieur Tremblay for coming to see me. And tell Marie where I am and to come and get me. Will you do zat for me. Pleeeeeezzze? My English I know eez not good. I must get more lessons. Perhaps you will come back and teach me?"
"I will... Fifi. I will. I promise."