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last ramparts of society, and the sacred] Paris, spare their generous lives, and renhome of every citizen, Marat, sprung from der their patriotism superfluous by deliverthe loathsome dregs of the populace, tri- ing France from tyranny before their arumphing over the laws by sedition, carried rival. in the arms of rioters to the tribune, now assumed the dictatorship of anarchy, robbery, and assassination, and menaced independence, property, liberty, life itself in the departments. These convulsions, excesses, and terrors, had deeply moved the provinces of Normandy.
Charlotte Corday's wounded heart felt all these calamities inflicted on her native land. She saw the ruin of France, and the victims; she thought, too, she perceived the tyrant. She vowed to herself that she would avenge the former, punish the latter, and save her country. For some days she brooded over her vague resolution in her soul, without knowing what act France demanded of her, or what source of crime it was most urgent to remove. She studied men, circumstances, and the state of affairs, in order that her blood should not be shed
A presentiment of terror was then pervading France. The scaffold was erected at Paris, and was expected to be shortly seen throughout the republic. The power of the Montagne and Marat, if it triumphcd, could be defended only by the hand of the executioner. It was said that the monster had already written lists of proscription, and counted the number of heads that were to be sacrificed to his suspicions and vengeance. Two thousand five hundred victims were marked out at Lyons alone, three thousand at Marseilles, twenty-eight thousand at Paris, and three hundred thousand in Brittany and Calvados. The name of Marat caused a shudder like the name of death. To prevent the shedding of so much blood, Charlotte was resolved to give her own. Under specious pretext she presented herself to the Hotel de l'Intendance, where the citizens who had business with The Girondists whom the city of Caen deputies were able to approach them. She had taken under its protection were lodged saw Buzot, Pethion, and Louvet, and had all together, by the town, in what had been two conversations with Barbaroux. She the Intendant's palace. There meetings of pretended to be a petitioner, and asked the the people used to be held, at which the young Marseillois for a letter of introduction citizens, and even women, were present, in to one of his colleagues of the Convention, order to contemplate and hear those first who could present her to the Minister of victims of anarchy-those last avengers of the Interior. She said she had a petition liberty. On leaving those assemblies, the to present to the government in favor of people would cry to arms! and incite their Mademoiselle de Forbin, the friend of her sons, brothers, and husbands, to enlist in childhood. Barbaroux gave her a letter to the battalions. Charlotte Corday, sur-Duperret, one of the seventy-three deputies mounting the prejudices of her rank, and of the Gironde forgotten in the first prothe timidity of her sex and age, had the scription. This letter, which later caused courage to attend those meetings several times, with a few of her female friends. She desired to behold those whom she was about to save. The situation, the language, and the countenances of those first apostles of liberty, almost all young men, became engraven in her soul, and imparted something more personal and impassioned to her devotion to their cause.
Charlotte witnessed from a balcony the enlisting of the volunteers and the departure of their battalions. The enthusiasm of those young citizens, abandoning their homes in order to protect the violated asylum of the national representation, and to brave bullets or the guillotine, chimed with her own.
After the departure of the volunteers, Charlotte was occupied with one single thought; to anticipate their arrival at
Duperret to ascend the scaffold, contained not one word that could be imputed as a crime to him who received it. `Provided with this letter, and a passport, which she had taken a few days before for Argentan, Charlotte thanked Barbaroux, and bade him farewell. The sound of her voice filled Barbaroux with a presentiment then incomprehensible to him. "If we had known her design," said he, afterwards, "and if we had been capable of committing a crime by such a hand, Marat is not the man we should have pointed out to her vengeance."
The last struggle now took place within her, between thought and the deed; but only the gravity of her countenance and a few tears, ill-concealed from the eyes of her household, revealed the involuntary agony of her suicide. When questioned by her aunt: "I weep," said she, "for the
embraced the child, and shed a tear upon his cheek. That tear was the last shed on the threshold of her youth; she had nothing now to give but her blood.
The freedom and frankness of her con
her towards Paris, inspired her travelling companions with no other sentiment than that of admiration, benevolence, and curiosity. Throughout the first day, she was constantly playing with a little girl whom chance had placed by her side in the carriage. The other travellers, being enthusiastic Montagnards, were loud in their imprecations against the Girondins, and in their admiration of Marat. Dazzled with the loveliness of the young lady, they endeavored to get from her her name, the intention of her journey, and her address at Paris. She repressed their familiarity by the modesty of her manners, the evasive brevity of her replies, and, at length, by pretending to be asleep. One of them, more reserved than the others, being captivated by so much modesty and beauty, avowed to her his respectful admiration, and entreated permission to ask her hand of her relations; she turned this sudden love into a good-natured jest, and promised the young man that she would later inform him of her name and intentions. She delighted them all to the end of the journey, and they were sorry to leave her company.
miseries of my country, for those of my j for you will never see me again." parents, and for yours; as long as Marat lives, nobody will be sure of one day's existence." Madame de Bretteville remembered, later, that, on entering Charlotte's room to wake her, she had found, on her bed, an old Bible open at the book of Ju-versation in the coach, which transported dith, and that she had seen these words underlined with a pencil: "Judith left the city, adorned with marvellous beauty, with which the Lord had gifted her, to deliver Israel." On the same day, Charlotte, on walking out to prepare for her departure, found in the street some of the citizens of Caen playing at cards before their door. "You play," said she, in an accent of bitter irony," and our country is dying!" Her language and manner showed her impatience and eagerness to depart. She accordingly departed on the 7th of July for Argentan. There, she bade her father and her sister a last farewell, telling them she was about to seek an asylum and a livelihood in England, and that she wanted to receive her father's benediction before that long separation. Her father approved of her departure; so having embraced him and her sister, Charlotte returned the same day to Caen. There, she deceived the tenderness of her aunt by the same stratagem, telling her she was going soon to England, where some of her friends had found her an asylum. She had secretly taken her place to depart, on the morrow, by the Paris diligence. She made little presents of gowns and embroidery, to be worn after her departure, to some of the companions of her childhood. She shared her favorite books among her most intimate friends, reserving only one volume of Plutarch, as if unwilling to separate, in that critical moment of her life, from the society of those great men with whom she had lived, and wished to die. At length, early in the morning of the 9th of July, she took under her arm a small parcel containing the most indispensable articles of dress, embraced her aunt, and told her she was going to sketch the hay-makers in the neighboring meadows. With a sheet of drawing-paper in her hand, she then departed, never to return. At the foot of the stairs, she met the child of a poor workman, named Robert, who lodged in the house, and was generally playing about the yard. She used sometimes to give him pictures. "Here, Robert," said she, giving him her drawing-paper, which she no longer required for an excuse, this is for you; be a good boy, and kiss me;
She entered Paris at noon on Thursday, the 11th of July, and gave orders to be conducted to the Hotel de la Providence, an inn which had been recommended to her at Caen. She went to bed at five in the evening, and slept soundly till the following morning.
She then rose, dressed herself simply but decently, and repaired to the house of Duperret. He was at the Convention. His daughters, in their father's absence, received from the young stranger Barbaroux's letter of introduction. Duperret was expected back in the evening. Charlotte returned to her hotel, and passed the whole day alone in her room. At six o'clock she went again to call on M. Duperret. Being pressed for time, he told her he could not take her that evening to the minister, Garat, but that he would go and accompany her from her lodgings on the following morning.
That same evening, a decree of the Convention ordered seals to be placed on the
furniture of such deputies as were suspect- | himself at the Convention. It was, thereed of being attached to the twenty-two pro- fore, necessary to find her victim elsescribed Girondins. Duperret was among where, and to deceive him in order to apthe number. He went, nevertheless, very proach him. early in the morning of the 12th, to accompany Charlotte to the minister. Garat did not receive them. Duperret seemed to be discouraged by this disappointment. He represented to the young girl that his being treated as suspicious, and the measure taken that night against him by the Convention, rendered his patronage rather injurious than useful to his clients. The stranger did not insist; like a person who no longer wants the pretext used to disguise an action, and who is contented with the first argument to abandon the design, Duperret left her at the Hotel de la Providence. She pretended to enter, but immediately left it again, and inquired her way, from street to street, as far as the Palais-Royal.
She resolved to do so. This dissimulation, which wounded the natural loyalty of her soul, changing courage into cunning and immolation into assassination, was the first remorse of her conscience, and her first punishment. This cost her more pain than even the deed; she confessed it herself: conscience is just in the face of posterity.
She returned to her room, wrote Marat a note which she left herself at the door of the Friend of the People: "I write from Caen," said she to him; your love for our native land makes me presume that you will be eager to learn the unfortunate events of that part of the republic. I will come to your house at one o'clock; have the goodness to receive me, and to grant me one moment's conversation. I will enable you to do good service to France."
Charlotte, relying on the effect of this note, repaired accordingly to Marat's house at the appointed hour; but she could not be introduced to him. She then handed the portress a second note, still more press
wrote to you this morning, Marat," said she; "have you received my letter? I cannot believe it, since your door is refused me. I hope you will grant me an interview to-morrow. I repeat that I arrive from Caen, and have to reveal to you the most important secrets for the safety of the republic. Besides, I am persecuted for the cause of liberty. I am unfortunate: this is a sufficient title to your patriotism."
She entered the garden, not as a stranger who wishes to satisfy curiosity, but as a traveller who has not a day to spare. She looked about under the galleries for a cutler's shop. She found one, entered, chose a couteau-poignard with an ebony handle, paid three francs for it, concealed it being and insidious than the former. "I neath her neckerchief, and returned slowly to the garden. She sat down, for a moment, on a stone bench against the arcade. There, though buried in meditation, she allowed herself to be amused by children who were playing about, some of whom frolicked at her feet and leaned on her knees. She still had a woman's smile for those innocent amusements of childhood. Her indecision oppressed her, not on account of the act for which she was already armed, but for the manner of accomplishing it. She wanted to make a solemn sacrifice that would cast terror into the souls of the adherents of the tyrant. Her first thought had been to accost Marat and slay him in the champ-de-Mars, at the grand ceremony of the federation. That solemnity having been postponed, her next intention had constantly been to sacrifice Marat at the head of the Montagne in the midst of the Convention, before the face of his admirers and accomplices. Her hope was to be instantly torn in pieces herself by the people in their fury, without leaving any other vestige or memory than two dead bodies and tyranny drowned in her blood! But, since her arrival in Paris, she had heard, in the course of conversation with Duperret, that Marat no longer showed
Without waiting for an answer, Charlotte left her room at seven in the evening, dressed more carefully than usual, in order the better to captivate, by a respectable appearance, the household of Marat. Her white robe was open to the shoulders, which were covered with a silk handkerchief concealing her bosom and tied round her waist. Her hair was confined in a Norman cap, with pendant lace on either cheek. The cap was bound round her temples with a broad green silk ribbon. Her hair fell from the back of her head in broad plaits, a few curls only waving on her neck. No paleness of complexion, no wildness of look, no emotion in her voice revealed in her the messenger of death. Such was her captivating appearance, when she knocked at Marat's door.
Marat inhabited the first floor of a
dilapidated house in the Rue des Corde-one begging to be permitted to speak to the liers, now No. 20, Rue de l'Ecole-de-Me- Friend of the People, and the other obstidicine. His lodgings consisted of an ante- nately stopping her at the door, reached chamber, a study, a small bath-room, a the ears of Marat. He understood from sleeping-room, and a saloon. This lodging their broken sentences that his visitor was was almost bare. Marat's numerous works the stranger from whom he had received lying in heaps on the floor, newspapers, still two letters that day. In a loud, imperious wet with ink, scattered on the chairs and voice, he ordered the stranger to be admittables, correctors of the press constantly ted. Either through jealousy or distrust, running in and out, women folding and dis- Albertine obeyed reluctantly and with illsecting pamphlets and journals, the worn-humor. She introduced the maiden into out stairs, the unswept passages, altogether bore witness to the bustle and disorder in which the busy journalist passed his life. Marat's household was that of an humble artisan. The woman who directed it, formerly called Catherine Evrard, was then named Albertine Marat, since the Friend of the People had given her his name in taking her for his wife one fine day with the sun for witness, in manner of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. One servant assisted this woman in domestic affairs; whilst a man named Laurent Basse, used to do errands and the out-door work.
Marat's feverish activity had not been lessened by the slow malady which was consuming him. The inflammation of his blood seemed to kindle his soul. He never ceased writing, in his bed, and even in his bath, accusing his enemies and exciting the Convention and the Cordeliers. Full of the presentiment of death, he seemed to fear only lest the short time he had to live would not allow him to destroy enough of the guilty. More eager to kill than to live, he hastened to despatch before him as many victims as possible, as so many hostages given by the sword to the revolution. Terror, which issued from that house, returned under another form, the perpetual fear of assassination. His companion and friends. thought they beheld as many daggers raised against him as he himself suspended over the heads of three hundred thousand citizens. Nobody was allowed to approach his person but sure friends, or informers previously recommended and examined.
Charlotte was ignorant of these obstacles, but she suspected them. She alighted from the coach on the opposite side of the street facing Marat's house. The portress refused at first to allow the young stranger to enter the yard. The latter insisted, and ascended a few stairs, though called back in vain
the room where Marat then was, and withdrew, leaving the passage door half open, that she might hear the least word or motion.
The room was dimly lit. Marat was in his bath. Although forced to give repose to his body, he gave none to his soul. rough plank, with either end resting on the edge of the bath, was covered with papers, open letters, and leaves on which he had began to write. In his right hand he held a pen, which the arrival of the stranger had suspended on the page. The paper was a letter to the Convention demanding the judgment and proscription of the remaining Bourbons tolerated in France. On the right of the bath was an enormous block of oak containing a common leaden inkstand. Marat, covered up in his bath with a dirty cloth stained with ink, had only his head and shoulders, the upper part of his breast, and his right arm out of the water. There was nothing in the appearance of that man to affect the eye of a woman or to arrest her arm. Greasy hair bound in a dirty handkerchief, a shelving forehead, impudent staring eyes, prominent cheek bones, an immensely wide sneering mouth, a hairy breast, lank limbs, and a livid skin :—such was Marat.
Charlotte avoided looking at him for fear of betraying the horror of her soul at the sight of him. Standing with cast-down eyes and her hands by her side, near the bath, she waited for Marat to question her about the state of things in Normandy. She replied in a few words, giving her answers the sense and coloring most likely to please him. He afterwards asked her to tell him the names of the deputies who had taken refuge at Caen. She dictated, and he noted them down. Then, when he had finished writing the names, ""Tis well!" said he, in the tone of a man sure of his
by the portress. At the noise, Marat's revenge; "before a week is past they shall mistress came and opened the door, but re- all go to the guillotine!" At those words, fused to let her enter the apartment. The as if the soul of Charlotte had waited for distant altercation between these women, his last crime before it could resolve to give VOL. XI. No. IV. 34
the blow, she drew her knife from her groans of the people for their idol, her lips bosom, and plunged it with superhuman wore a smile of bitter contempt. "Poor strength up to the hilt in the heart of Marat. With the same motion she drew the bloody kuife from the body of the victim, and dropped it at her feet. "Help! dear friend, help!" cried Marat, and he expired under the blow.
people," said she, " you wish for my death, and yet you owe me an altar for having rid you of a monster! Cast me to those madmen," said she to the soldiers who protected her, "since they regret him, they are worthy to be my executioners."
At that cry of agony Albertine, the The commissary at length arrived, drew servant-maid, and Laurent Basse rushed up a procès-verbal of the murder, and had into the room and caught Marat's lifeless Charlotte conducted to Marat's saloon in head in their arms. Charlotte was stand-order to question her. He wrote down her ing behind the window-curtain, motionless, answers. She gave them calmly, in a loud and as if petrified by the crime she had firm voice, in no other tone than that of committed. The transparency of the cur- proud satisfaction for the act she had comtain, in the last gleam of departing day, mitted. revealed the shadow of her body. Laurent The report of the death of the Friend of seized a chair and aimed an uncertain blow the People spread with the rapidity of at her head which stretched her on the lightning, and soon reached the Convenfloor. Marat's mistress stamped upon her tion. Some of the deputies instantly left and trampled her under foot in her fury. the assembly and hastened to the spot At the uproar and the shrieks of the women where the crime had been committed. the lodgers ran in. The neighbors and passengers stopped in the street, ran up the stairs, and crowded into the apartment. The people in the yard, and soon the whole neighborhood, demanded, with furious vociferations, that the assassin should be thrown to them, in order to avenge the death of the idol of the people on his still warm body. The soldiers of the neighboring posts and the national guards also assembled, and some order was restored. The surgeons arrived and endeavored to dress the wound. The bloody water gave the sanguinary man the appearance of expiring in a bath of blood." When lifted on his bed he was a corpse.
Charlotte had risen to her feet. Two soldiers were now holding her hands across till ropes were brought to tie them. The hedge of bayonets which surrounded her could hardly keep off the crowd, who were ever rushing at her to tear her in pieces. A fanatical cordelier, named Langlois, had picked up the bloody knife, and was making a funeral speech over the dead body of the victim, interrupting his lamentations to brandish the knife, as if he was stabbing the assassin to the heart. But nothing seemed to affect Charlotte, except the heart-rending cries of Marat's concubine. Her countenance seemed to express her astonishment at the sight of that woman; at not having reflected that such a man might yet be loved; and a regret at having been forced to wound two hearts in stabbing one.
To the invectives of the orator, and the
There they found the crowd increasing, and Charlotte replying to the questions of the commissary. They remained thunderstruck and dumb with astonishment at the sight of her youth and beauty, as well as at the calmness and resolution of her language. Charlotte seemed so to transfigure crime that, even by the side of the victim, they felt pity for the.assassin.
The procès-verbal being ended, the deputies ordered her to be transported to the Abbaye, that being the nearest prison to Marat's house. They called the same coach that had brought her. The street was then filled with a dense crowd shouting with rage, which rendered the transfer difficult. The detachments of fusileers that had successively arrived, the scarfs of the commissaries, and the respect due to the members of the Convention, could ill restrain the people, and they had much difficulty in forcing a passage. The moment Charlotte, with her hands tied with ropes, and supported by the arms of two of the national guard who were holding her elbows, appeared on the threshold of the house to step into the coach, the people crowded round the wheels with such furious gestures and howlings, that she thought she must be torn piecemeal-and she fainted. On recovering her senses she was astonished, and felt sorry at breathing again.
Chabot, Drouet, and Legendre, followed her to the Abbaye, and made her undergo a second examination, which lasted till late at night. Legendre, proud of his revolutionary importance, and jealous of being