Sixty students were seated in a Victorian chamber with high windows and oak-panelled walls, gazing at the bejewelled and bescarved whirl who was Mme. Vaillancourt, a Parisian marvel of a certain age eased from the pages of Madeline. Young men were swooning, young women taking notes. “Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité,” she announced. I felt myself brace, ready to rise and follow her to the Bastille, the barricades, anywhere.