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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 A presentiment of terror was then perassumed the dictatorship of anarchy, rob- vading France. The scaffold was erected bery, and assassination, and menaced inde- at Paris, and was expected to be shortly pendence, property, liberty, life itself in the seen throughout the republic. The power departments. These convulsions, excesses, of the Montagne and Marat, if it triumphand terrors, bad deeply moved the provinces cd, could be defended only by the hand of of Normandy.
the executioner. It was said that the monCharlotte Corday's wounded heart felt ster had already written lists of proscripall these calamities inflicted on her native tion, and counted the number of heads that land. She saw the ruin of France, and the were to be sacrificed to his suspicions and victims; she thought, too, she perceived vengeance. Two thousand five hundred the tyrant. She vowed to herself that she victims were marked out at Lyons alone, would avenge the former, punish the latter, three thousand at Marseilles, twenty-eight and save her country. For some days she thousand at Paris, and three hundred thoubrooded over her vague resolution in her sand in Brittany and Calvados. The name soul, without knowing what act France de- of Marat caused a shudder like the name manded of her, or what source of crime it of death. To prevent the shedding of so was most urgent to remove. She studied much blood, Charlotte was resolved to give men, circumstances, and the state of affairs, her own. Únder specious pretext she prein order that her blood should not be shed sented herself to the Hotel de l'Intendance, in vain !
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 Duperret to ascend the scaffold, contained times, with a few of her female friends. not one word that could be imputed as a She desired to behold those whom she was crime to him who received it. Provided about to save. The situation, the lan- with this letter, and a passport, which she guage, and the countenances of those first had taken a few days before for Argentan, apostles of liberty, almost all young men, Charlotte thanked Barbaroux, and bade him became engraven in her soul, and imparted farewell. The sound of her voice filled something more personal and impassioned Barbaroux with a presentiment then incomto her devotion to their cause.
prehensible to him. “ If we had known Charlotte witnessed from a balcony the her design,” said he, afterwards, “and if enlisting of the volunteers and the depar- we had been capable of committing a crime ture of their battalions. The enthusiasm of by such a hand, Marat is not the man we those young citizens, abandoning their should have pointed out to her vengeance.” homes in order to protect the violated The last struggle now took place within asylum of the national representation, and her, between thought and the deed; but to brave bullets or the guillotine, chimed only the gravity of her countenance and with her own.
a few tears, ill-concealed from the eyes of After the departure of the volunteers, her household, revealed the involuntary Charlotte was occupied with one single agony of her suicide. When questioned by thought; to anticipate their arrival at her aunt : “I weep,” said she, “ for the
miseries of my country, for those of my for you will never see me again.” And she parents, and for yours; as long as Marat embraced the child, and shed a tear upon lives, nobody will be sure of one day's ex- his cheek. That tear was the last shed on istence." Madame de Bretteville remem- the threshold of her youth ; she had nobered, later, that, on entering Charlotte's thing now to give but her blood. room to wake her, she had found, on her The freedom and frankness of her conbed, an old Bible open at the book of Ju- versation in the coach, which transported dith, and that she had seen these words her towards Paris, inspired her travelling underlined with a pencil : “ Judith left the companions with no other sentiment than city, adorned with marvellous beauty, with that of admiration, benevolence, and curiowhich the Lord had gifted her, to deliver sity. Throughout the first day, she was Israel.” On the same day, Charlotte, on constantly playing with a little girl whom walking out to prepare for her departure, chance had placed by her side in the carfound in the street some of the citizens of riage. The other travellers, being enthuCaen playing at cards before their door. siastic Montagnards, were loud in their im“ You play,” said she, in an accent of bit- precations against the Girondins, and in ter irony, “ and our country is dying !" | their admiration of Marat. Dazzled with Her language and manner showed her im- the loveliness of the young lady, they enpatience and eagerness to depart. She ac-deavored to get from her her name, the incordingly departed on the 7th of July for tention of her journey, and her address at Argentan. There, she bade her father and Paris. She repressed their familiarity by her sister a last farewell, telling them she the modesty of her manners, the evasive was about to seek an asylum and a liveli- brevity of her replies, and, at length, by hood in England, and that she wanted to pretending to be asleep. One of them, receive her father's benediction before that more reserved than the others, being captilong separation. Her father approved of vated by so much modesty and beauty, her departure; so having embraced him avowed to her his respectful admiration, and her sister, Charlotte returned the same and entreated permission to ask her hand day to Caen. There, she deceived the ten- of her relations ; she turned this sudden derness of her aunt by the same stratagem, love into a good-natured jest, and promistelling her she was going soon to England, ed the young man that she would later inwhere some of her friends had found her an form him of her name and intentions. She asylum. She had secretly taken her place delighted them all to the end of the jourto depart, on the morrow, by the Paris dili-ney, and they were sorry to leave her comgence.
She made little presents of gowns pany. and embroidery, to be worn after her depar- She entered Paris at noon on Thursday, ture, to some of the companions of her the 11th of July, and gave orders to be childhood. She shared her favorite books conducted to the Hotel de la Providence, among her most intimate friends, reserving an inn which had been recommended to only one volume of Plutarch, as if unwil- her at Caen. She went to bed at five in ling to separate, in that critical moment of the evening, and slept soundly till the folher life, from the society of those great men lowing morning. with whom she had lived, and wished to She then rose, dressed herself simply but die. At length, early in the morning of decently, and repaired to the house of Duthe 9th of July, she took under her arm a perret. He was at the Convention. His small parcel containing the most indispen- daughters, in their father's absence, receivsable articles of dress, embraced her aunt, ed from the young stranger Barbaroux's ietand told her she was going to sketch the ter of introduction. Duperret was expecthay-makers in the neighboring meadows. ed back in the evening. Charlotte returnWith a sheet of drawing-paper in her hand, ed to her hotel, and passed the whole day she then departed, never to return. At alone in her room. At six o'clock she the foot of the stairs, she met the child of went again to call on M. Duperret. Being a poor workman, named Robert, who lodged pressed for time, he told her he could in the house, and was generally playing not take her that evening to the minister, about the yard. She used sometimes to Garat, but that he would
accompany give him pictures. “Here, Robert,” said her from her lodgings on the following she, giving him her drawing-paper, which morning. she no longer required for an excuse, “this That same evening, a decree of the Conis for you ; be a good boy, and kiss me ; I vention 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 ac- She resolved to do so. This dissimulacompany Charlotte to the minister. Garat tion, which wounded the natural loyalty of did not receive them. Duperret seemed to her soul, changing courage into cunning be discouraged by this disappointment. and immolation into assassination, was the He represented to the young girl that his first remorse of her conscience, and her first being treated as suspicious, and the mea- punishment. This cost her more pain than sure taken that night against him by the even the deed ; she confessed it herself: Convention, rendered his patronage rather conscience is just in the face of posterity. injurious than useful to his clients. The She returned to her room, wrote Marat stranger did not insist; like a person who a note which she left herself at the door of no longer wants the pretext used to dis- the Friend of the People : “ I write from guise an action, and who is contented with Caen,” said she to him; “ your love for the first argument to abandon the design, our native land makes me presume that Duperret left her at the Hotel de la Provi- you will be eager to learn the unfortunate dence. She pretended to enter, but im- events of that part of the republic. I will mediately left it again, and inquired her come to your house at one o'clock; have way, from street to street, as far as the the goodness to receive me, and to grant Palais-Royal.
me one moment's conversation. I will She entered the garden, not as a stranger enable you to do good service to France." who wishes to satisfy curiosity, but as a Charlotte, relying on the effect of this traveller who has not a day to spare. She note, repaired accordingly to Marat's house looked about under the galleries for a cut- at the appointed hour ; but she could not ler's shop. She found one, entered, chose be introduced to him. She then handed a couteau-poignard with an ebony handle, the portress a second note, still more presspaid three francs for it, concealed it being and insidious than the former. “I neath her neckerchief, and returned slowly wrote to you this morning, Marat,” said to the garden. She sat down, for a mo- she; “ have you received my letter? I ment, on a stone bench against the arcade. cannot believe it, since your door is refused There, though buried in meditation, she me. I hope you will grant me an interview allowed herself to be amused by children to-morrow. I repeat that I arrive from who were playing about, some of whom Caen, and have to reveal to you the most frolicked at her feet and leaned on her important secrets for the safety of the reknees. She still had a woman's smile for public. Besides, I am persecuted for the those innocent amusements of childhood. cause of liberty: I am unfortunate : this Her indecision oppressed her, not on ac- is a sufficient title to your patriotism." count of the act for which she was already Without waiting for an answer, Chararmed, but for the manner of accomplish- lotte left her room at seven in the evening, ing it. She wanted to make a solemn sa- dressed more carefully than usual, in order crifice that would cast terror into the souls the better to captivate, by a respectable of the adherents of the tyrant. Her first appearance, the household of Marat. Her thought had been to accost Marat and slay white robe was open to the shoulders, him in the champ-de-Mars, at the grand which were covered with a silk handkerceremony of the federation. That solem-chief concealing her bosom and tied round nity having been postponed, her next inten- her waist. Her hair was confined in a Nortion had constantly been to sacrifice Marat man cap, with pendant lace on either cheek. at the head of the Montagne in the midst The cap was bound round her temples with of the Convention, before the face of his a broad green silk ribbon. Her hair fell admirers and accomplices. Her hope was from the back of her head in broad plaits, to be instantly torn in pieces herself by a few curls only waving on her neck. Nó the people in their fury, without leaving any paleness of complexion, no wildness of look, other vestige or memory than two dead bo- no emotion in her voice revealed in her the dies and tyranny drowned in her blood ! messenger of death. Such was her captiBut, since her arrival in Paris, she had vating appearance, when she knocked at heard, in the course of conversation with Marat's door. Duperret, that Marat no longer showed 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 the room where Marat then was, and withbore witness to the bustle and disorder in drew, leaving the passage door half open, which the busy journalist passed his life. that she might hear the least word or moMarat's household was that of an humble tion. artisan. The woman who directed it, for- The room was dimly lit. Marat was in merly called Catherine Evrard, was then his bath. Although forced to give repose named Albertine Marat, since the Friend to his body, he gave none to his soul. A of the People had given her his name in rough plank, with either end resting on the taking her for his wife one fine day with the edge of the bath, was covered with papers, sun for witness, in manner of Jean-Jacques open letters, and leaves on which he had Rousseau. One servant assisted this woman began to write. In his right hand he held in domestic affairs ; whilst a man named a pen, which the arrival of the stranger had Laurent Basse, used to do errands and the suspended on the page. The paper was a out-door work.
letter to the Convention demanding the Marat's feverish activity had not been judgment and proscription of the remainlessened by the slow malady which was con- ing Bourbons tolerated in France. On the suming him. The inflammation of his right of the bath was an enormous block of blood seemed to kindle his soul. He never oak containing a common leaden inkstand. ceased writing, in his bed, and even in his Marat, covered up in his bath with a dirty bath, accusing his enemies and exciting the cloth stained with ink, had only his head Convention and the Cordeliers. Full of and shoulders, the upper part of his breast, the presentiment of death, he seemed to and his right arm out of the water. There fear only lest the short time he had to live was nothing in the appearance of that man would not allow him to destroy enough of to affect the eye of a woman or to arrest the guilty. More eager to kill than to live, her arm. Greasy hair bound in a dirty he hastened to despatch before him as many handkerchief, a shelving forehead, impuvictims as possible, as so many hostages dent staring eyes, prominent cheek bones, given by the sword to the revolution. Ter- an immensely wide sneering mouth, a hairy ror, which issued from that house, returned breast, lank limbs, and a livid skin :-such under another form, the perpetual fear of was Marat. assassination. His companion and friends Charlotte avoided looking at him for fear thought they beheld as many daggers raised of betraying the horror of her soul at the against him as he himself suspended over sight of him. Standing with cast-down eyes the heads of three hundred thousand citi- and her hands by her side, near the bath, she zens. Nobody was allowed to approach his waited for Marat to question her about the person but sure friends, or informers pre- state of things in Normandy. She replied viously recommended and examined. in a few words, giving her answers the
Charlotte was ignorant of these obstacles, sense and coloring most likely to please but she suspected them. She alighted from him. He afterwards asked her to tell him the coach on the opposite side of the street the names of the deputies who had taken facing Marat's house. The portress refused refuge at Caen. She dictated, and he at first to allow the young stranger to enter noted them down. Then, when he had the yard. The latter insisted, and ascend- finished writing the names, 'Tis well !" ed a few stairs, though called back in vain 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.
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. people,” said she, “you wish for my death, With the same motion she drew the bloody and yet you owe me an altar for having rid knife from the body of the victim, and you of a monster ! Cast me to those maddropped it at her feet. “Help! dear friend, men,” said she to the soldiers who protecthelp!” cried Marat, and he expired under ed her, "since they regret him, they are the blow.
worthy to be my executioners.''
which rendered the transfer diffi-
at night. Legendre, proud of his revoluTo the invectives of the orator, and the tionary importance, and jealous of being