Although she was born and bred in Paris, Manon Roland spent the first three years of the Revolution in Lyon at her husband's country home of Le Clos, living a simple, retired life. There she received visitors who played an important role in the revolution and corresponded with others, notably Brissot, who printed several of her letters in his paper Le Patriote François.
Madame Roland prided herself on fully taking part of the country life, picking grapes during the vendanges, and mixing with her peasant neighbors on equal and easy terms (or so she thought, anyway).
In July 1789, within six days of the fall of the Bastille, a rumor spread through France that brigands, or perhaps the English, were sacking the country. People everywhere panicked, and soon, the peasants who'd armed themselves to fight this fictitious enemy began to revolt, sometimes violently, setting fire to the homes of the rich and murdering their inhabitants.
People were advised to leave the countryside and come to Paris, where they would be safer. Madame Roland responded in a letter published anonymously by Brissot:
Every one tells me to move to the city—I will not. I have not hurt any body in the country, I have no land nor title, I have only done good to my neighbors. Were they to become ungrateful, so what? I will pay the interest of the advantages that my position gave me over them. But I will not do them the injury of believing it before the event, and even if I were to fall victim to a few bandits, I would not despair of the res publica, as do the cowards who call for a counter-revolution because a few houses were burnt down.
The Rolands eventually did come up to Paris in 1791, not out of fear, but because they wanted to participate in the political events that were taking place in the Capital. Unfortunately, this did little to increase their safety as they both died in 1793.
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