The chilling description, given to me by my father, of the woman who sat knitting at the guillotine, (from the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) has always stayed with me and given me an inclination to be wary of the Madame Defarge characters of this world, not just the more obvious villains-the puppeteers rather than the actual puppets.
It is interesting that these memories came to me, so close to the anniversary of The Storming of the Bastille almost two hundred and twenty eight years ago. I may well have a connection with those terrible events. At that particular point in time some of my forefathers were hairdressers in France. A passing comment was made to me by a fellow genealogist concerning the likelihood, that some of the coiffured heads of their clients, would indeed likely have been removed by the guillotine. Perhaps that is why the story of Madame Defarge appears to have featured so strongly in the family folklore. This has led me to be more aware of the Madame Defarges, who sit quietly knitting at the guillotine, than I might otherwise have been.