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VII.

lotion put all in doubt. Men held no more to ideas which they saw wavering and crumbling from day to day. And then, the republican opinions of the

It was a time in which the Girondins straggled father of Charlotte were infiltrated more or less with a resounding courage and prodigious eloquence into bis connections. The family of Corday in- against their enemies in the Convention. The Jaelined towards the new ideas. Madame de Brette-cobins only wished, it was believed, to tear the reville herself concealed under the decency of her public from the Gironde, to precipitate France into regrets for the old regime, a secret favor for the a bloody anarchy. The great danger for liberty, revolotion. She permitted her niece to nourish the odious tyranny of the populace of Paris, subher mind with the works, the opinions and the jour-stituted for the legal sovereignty of the nation repnals of her choice. The age of Charlotte inclined resented by the deputies, the arbitrary imprisonher to the reading of romances, which furnish ments, the assassinations of September, the condreams ready made to the imagination of leisure spiracy of the 10th of March, the insurrection of the spirits. Her intellect led her to the reading of 30th and 31st of May, the expulsion and proscripworks of philosophy, which transforms the vaguetion of the purest part of the Assembly, their asinstincts of humanity into sublime theories of gov.

cent of the scaffold in the prospect, where liberty ernment, and books of history, which change the would mount with them; the virtue of Roland, the theories into actions and the ideas into men.

She youth of Foupède and of Barbaroux, the cry of found this double want of her mind and of her despair of Isnard, the constancy of Buzot, the inheart satisfied in Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that phi- tegrity of Pethion, become a victim from an idol, losopher of love and that poet of politics'; in Ray- the tribune martyrdom of Sanguinais, to which nal

, that fanatic of humanity; in Plutarch, finally, there was only wanting to equal the fate of Cicero, that personifier of history, who paints more than that the tongue of the orator would be nailed to he recounts and who vivifies the events and the the rostra ; finally, the eloquence of Vergniaud, characters of his heroes. These three books suc

that hope of good citizens, that remorse of the bad, ceeded one another without ceasing in her hands. become suddenly mute, abandoning honest men to The impassioned, or light works of the epoch, such discouragement, the bad to their wickedness; in as the l'Héloise or Faablas, were also looked over the place of these men, all interesting or sublime, by her. But although her imagination illumined who appeared to defend upon the breach the last these her dreams, her mind never lost its modesty, ramparts of society and the sacred firesides of every nor her youth its chastity. Devoured with the ne- citizen, a Marat, the lees and leprosy of the peocessity of loving, inspiring and sometimes feeling ple, triumphing over the laws hy sedition, crowned the first symptoms of love, her reserve, her depen- with impunity, carried back in the arms of the dence and her misery restrained her always from "faubourgs” upon the tribune, taking the dictatorthe last avowals of her sentiments. She rent her ship of anarchy, of spoliation, of assassination, and heart, to carry away by violence the first tie which menacing all independence, all property, all liberty, attached itself there. Her love, thus stemmed as all life in the departments. All these convulsions, the tide, by the powers of the will and by fate, all these excesses, all these terrors, had thrown ehanged not in nature, but in ideal. It was trans. into powerful commotion the districts of Normandy. formed into a vague and sublime devotion to a dream of the public good. That heart was too large to contain only its own happiness. She wished to contain there the happiness of a whole people. That fire, with which she might have been The presence in the Calvados of the proscribed inflamed for one man, she was consumed with and fugitive depoties, coming to make an appeal to for her country. She concentrated herself more liberty against oppression and to kindle fames in and more in these ideas, seeking, without ceasing the departments, to raise up avengers for the counwithin herself, what service she could render to hu- try, had carried the attachment of the town of manity. The thirst of self-sacrifice had become Caen to the Girondists even to adoration, and the her madness, her love or her virtue. Should it be execration against Marat as far as to fanaticism. necessary to make that sacrifice one of blood, she That name of Marat had become one of the names was resolved to accomplish it. She had arrived of crime. The opinions of the Gironde, more Engat that desperate state of the mind, which is the lish than Roman, their Attic and moderate republisuicide of happiness, not to the profit of glory or canism contrasted with the cynicism of the Maratof ambition, as Madame Roland, but to the profit ists. They had less desired in Normandy, before the of liberty and humanity, as Judith or Epicharis. 10th of August, the overthrow of the throne, than There was only wanting an occasion; she watched an equal constitution of the monarchy. The town for it; she believed she seized it.

of Rouen, capital of that province, was allached to the person of Louis XVI. and had offered him an asylum before his fall. The execution of that

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Prince had afflicted and humiliated the good citi. I to them an army. In rising against the omnipo

The other towns of that part of France tence of Paris and against the dictatorship of the were rich, agricultural, and industrious. Peace Convention, the youth of the department believed and commerce were necessary to their prosperi- that they rose against Marat alone. Danton and ty. The love of the King for Agriculture, his Robespierre, less signalized in the last movements enlightened predilection for navigation, the Naval of the people against the Gironde, had not, in the power of France, which he endeavored to recon- eyes of the insurgents, either the authority over struct, the building of vessels, which he ordered the people or the sanguinary delirium of Marat. in the roadstead of Brent, the marvellous works They left the names of those two great “Montaof the port of Cherbourg, the voyage which he guards” in the shade, in order not to ruffle the esteem made in the interior and upon the shore of our which these two more serious popularities precoasts, to visit and infuse life into all our road served among the Jacobins of the Departments. steads upon the ocean, his studies with Turgot to The mass was deceived here and did not see tyranfavor industry and free commerce, had left in the ny and freedom but in one man.

Charlotte was heart of the Normans esteem for his name, pity deceived here like the public opinion. The shade for his misfortunes, horror against his murderers, of Marat darkened the whole republic for her. and a secret disposition for the reëstablishment of a government which should unite the guarantees of monarchy with the liberties of the republic. Hence there was enthusiasm for the Girondins, men of the Constitution of 1791 ; hence, also, the hope The Girondins, whom the town of Caen had which was attached to their vengeance. All pat-taken under its protection, were lodged together by riotism felt itself struck, all virtue felt itself with the town in the palace of the ancient adminisered; all liberty felt itself expire in them. tration. The seat of the government of the Fed

The heart of Charlotte Corday, already wounded, eralists was transported there with the commission felt all the blows given to the country, to be col- of insurrection; assemblies of the people were lected in the griefs, in the despair and in the cour- held there, and the citizens and the women even age in one heart. She saw the ruin of France, pressed eagerly to meet, to contemplate and to she saw the victims, she believed she saw the ty-hear these first victims of anarchy, these last arenrant. She swore to herself to avenge the one-to gers of liberty. The names, dominant for so long take punishment for the other, to save all. She a time, of Perhion, of Buzot, of Louvet, of Barbrooded for some days her vague resolution in her baroux, spoke louder than their discourses to the mind, without knowing what act the country de- imagination of the Calvados. The vicissitudes of manded of her, and what knot of crime the most revolutions which showed as exiles and suppliants urgently required cutting. She studied affairs, at a remote town of the republic, those orators who men, circumstances, that her courage might not be had overthrown the monarchy, raised the people of deceived, and that her blood might not be in vain. Paris, and filled the tribune and the nation with their

voice, softened the spectators and rendered them proud to avenge soon such illustrious posts. They became intoxicated by the accents of these men;

they named theni to one another, pointed out to one The Girondins Buzot, Lalles, Pethion, Valady, another Pethion, the King of Paris, and BarbaGorras, Kervelegan, Mollevault, Barbaroux, Lou- roux, the hero of Marseilles, of whom the youth vet, Giroux, Bussy, Bergoing, Lesage (d'Eure and the beauty heightened the eloquence, the courand Loire) Meilhan, Henri Lariviere, Duchatel had age, and the misfortunes. They came out crying been, as has been already seen, assembled for to arms and calling on their sons, their husbands, some weeks at Caen. They had been occupied with their brothers, to enrol themselves in the battalfomenting the general insurrection of the depart- ions. Charlotte Corday, surmounting the prejuments of the North to combine it with the repub- dices of her rank and the timidity of her sex and lican insurrection of Bretagne, to recruit some of her age, ventured several times to attend with battalions of volunteers, to direct them upon the some friends at these meetings. She made herself armies of Puisage and of Wimpfen, which were remarkable by a silent enthusiasm, which heightto march on Paris, and to keep up in the local ad-ened her feminine beauty and which was only beministrations the fire of the indignation of the de trayed by tears. She wished to have seen those partments, which was to consume their enemies. whom she desired to save. The situation, the These deputies, so often insulted by Marat, natu- words, the countenances of these first apostles of rally placed the mountain and the commune under liberty, almost all young, were engraven in her soul the horror of the name of their enemy. That odious and gave something more personal and more imname roused up avengers for them, and was worth passioned to her devotion to their cause.

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de Franquelin, carried away by the general rapture,

and sure of obtaining from her a look of approbaGeneral Wimpfen, summoned by the convention tion in arming himself for liberty, had enlisted in to fall back on Paris, had responded that he would the battalion of Caen. Charlotte could not prenot march there but at the head of sixty thousand vent a manifestation of weakness, and grew pale men, nut to obey an usurping power, but to reëstab. in seeing this battalion defile to depart. Tears lish the integrity of the national representation and rolled from her eyes. Pethion, who passed under to avenge the departments. Louvet addressed the balcony and who knew Charlotte, was astonsome borning proclamations to the towns and vil- ished at this weakness and addressed the remark lages of Morbipan on the coasts of the north of to her: “Would you be pleased if they would not Mayenne, of Ille-et Vilaine, of the Loire Inferieur, depart?" The young girl blushed, retained her of Finistere, of l'Eure, of l'Orne and of the Cal- answer in her own heart and withdrew. Pethion vados. “The force of the departments which did not comprehend that suffering. The future remakes its way towards Paris," he said, “is not vealed it. The young Franquelin, after the act going to seek for enemies to combat, it is going to and the punishment of Charlotte Corday, retired, fraternize with the Parisian and to reestablish the himself struck with death by the rebound of the wavering statue of liberty! Citizens! whoever axe which had severed the head of her whom he shall see their friendly phalanxes pass along your adored, in a village of Normandy. There alone roads, through your towns, by your hamlets, fra- with his mother, he languished some months and ternize with them. Do not suffer that monsters, died, requesting that the portrait and the letters of thirsting for blood, should establish themselves of Charlotte might be buried with him. That imamong you to arrest them in their march.” Those age and that secret repose in his coffin. words brought forth thousands of volunteers. More than six thousand had already assembled in the town of Caen.

On Sunday, the 7th of July, they were passed in review by the Girondin deputies and by the authori- From the departure of the volunteers, Charlotte ties of the Calvados, with all the preparations suita- had only one thought, to anticipate their arrival at ble to electrify their courage. These spontaneous Paris, to spare their generous lives and render their collections levying themselves, with arms in their patriotism useless, in delivering France from the hands, te go to die and avenge liberty of the in- iyranny before them. That attachment, suffered salis of anarchy, recalled the patriotic insurrection rather than experienced, was one of the sad cirof 1792, carrying to the frontiers all who wished no cumstances of her devoting herself, but was not the longer to live, if they no longer had a country. cause.

Charloue Corday saw from a balcony the en- The true cause was her patriotism. A presentirolling and the departure. The enthusiasm of ment of terror ran over France at this moment. these young citizens abandoning their fire-sides The scaffold was reared at Paris. They talked of {0 protect the violated fire-side of the national carrying it in a short time throughout the republic. representation, and to brave the balls or the guillo- The power of Marat and the Mountain, if it tritine, responded to her own. She found it even too umphed, was only to be defended by the hand of cold. She was indignant at the small number en- the executioner. The monster, it was said, had alrolled, which this review added to the battalions of ready written off the lists of proscription and countWimpfen. There were not, in effect, but twenty ed the number of heads which were necessary to

his suspicions or to his vengeance. Two thousand That enthusiasm was, it is said, softened in her five hundred heads were designated at Lyons, three by the mysterious but pure sentiment, which was thousand at Marseilles, twenty-eight thousand at cherished for her by one of these young volunteers Paris, three hundred thousand in Bretagne and in who tore themselves thus from their families, their the Calvados. The name of Marat gave a chill lores, perhaps from their lives. Charlotte Corday as the name of death. Against so much blood, had not been able to remain insensible to that con- Charlotte wished to give her own. The more ties cealed adoration, but she sacrificed that attachment she broke on earth, the more agreeable would be of pure gratitude to an attachment more sublime. the voluntary victim to Liberty, whom she wished to

That young man was called Franquelin. He appease. adored in silence the beautiful republican. He Such was the secret disposition of her mind, but maintained with her a correspondence full of re- Charlotte wished to see well before striking. She serve and respect. She responded to him with the could not enlighten herself better upon the state sadness and tender reserve of a young girl, who has of Paris, upon things and men than among the Gionly misfortune to bring for her dowry. She had rondins, who were most interested in that cause. given her portrait to the young volunteer and per- She wished to sound them without discovering hermitted him to love her at least in her image. M.'self to them. She respected them too much to

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reveal to them a project which they might take for Lalles upon the constitution. Fortified with that a crime, or prevent as a generous temerity. She letter and a passport which she had taken, some had the constancy to conceal from her friends the days before, for Argenlan, she presented her thanks thought which was to destroy her to save them. 10 Barbaroux and made her adieus. The sound of She presented herself under some specious pretexts her voice struck Barbaroux with a presentiment at the hotel of the administration, where the citizens, which he could not comprehend. “If we had who had business with the deputies, were able to known her design," said he afterwards, " and if we see them. She saw Buzot, Pethion, Louvet. She had been capable of a crime by such a hand, it is conversed twice with Barbaroux. The interview not Marat whom we would have designated to her of a young, beautiful and enthusiastic girl, with the vengeance.” The gaiety which Charlotte had youngest and most beautiful of the Girondins, un- constantly mingled with the serious in her patriotic der color of politics, might give rise to calumny, or conversations, vanished from her countenance in at least excite the smile of incredulity on some quitting forever the dwelling of the Girondins. lips. It was so at the first moment. Louvet, who The last conflict was abandoned in her between has since written a hymn to the purity and the glory the thought and the execution. She covered that of the young heroine, believed, in the beginning, in internal conflict with a foreseeing and minute disone of those vulgar reductions of the senses, of simulation. The gravity alone of her visage and which he had accumulated the “tableaux” in his some tears, badly concealed from the eyes of those romance of Faublas. Buzot, altogether occupied near to her, revealed the voluntary agony of her with another image, scarcely cast a glance of the suicide. Interrogated by her aunt, she replied, “ [ eye on Charlotte. Pethion, in traversing the com- weep over the miseries of my country, over those mon hall of the administration, where Charlotte of my relations and over yours ; so long as Marat awaited Barbaroux, rallied her gracefully upon her shall live, no person will be sure of life one day." assiduity, calling up the contrast of her proceeding Madame de Bretteville remembered afterwards, with her birth. Behold," said he smiling, "the that in entering the chamber of Charlotte to awake beautiful aristocrat who comes to see the republic her, she had found upon her bed an old Bible can.” The young girl comprehended the smile opened at the book of Judith, and that she had read and the insinuation as wounding to her purity. this verse underlined in pencil, “ Judith went out She blushed, then became indignant at herself for from the city decked with a marvellous beauty with blushing, and with a tone of serious and tender re- which the Lord had endowed her to deliver Israel.' proach: “Citizen Peihion," she responded, “ you The same day, Charlotte having gone out tu judge me this day without knowing me; one day make her preparations for departure, she encounyou will know who I am.”

tered on the street some citizens of Caen, who played at cards before their door. "You play," she said to them with an accent of bitter irony, " and the country dies."

Her step and her words showed the impatience In those audiences, which she obtained from Bar- and precipitation of a departure. She departed, in barous, and which she prolonged designedly to nour-effect, the 7th of July for Argentan. There she ish berself in his discourses with republicanism, made her last adieus to her father and sister. She with enthusiasm, and with the projets of the Gi- said to them that she was going to seek a refuge ronde, she took the humble role of petitioner; she from the revolution and from ruisery, and a subsisasked of him a letter of introduction to one of his tence in England, and that she wished to receive colleagues in the convention, who might present the paternal benediction before this long separation. her to the minister of the Interior. She had, she

Her father approved of her removal. said, some claims to present to the government in favor of Mademoiselle Forbin, the friend of her childhood. Mademoiselle Forbin had been drawn into emigration by her relations, and suffered from indigence in Switzerland. Barbaroux gave a let- The sadness and nudity of the paternal mansion, ter to Duperret, one of the seventy-three deputies the premature tomb of her mother, the exile of her of the party of the Gironde, who was forgotten in brothers, the discouragement of all hope, the rupthe first proscription.

lure of all the lies of childhood, confirmed the That letter of Barbaroux, which was afterwards resolution of the young girl, instead of weakena note to the scaffold, did not contain one word ing it. She did not leave behind her any happiwhich might be imputed as a crime to the deputy ness to regret, or any life to be compromised. who received it. Barbaroux limited himself to In embracing her father and her sister, she wept recommend a young citizen of Caen 10 the con- more over the past than the future. She resideration and protection of Durerret. He an- turned the same day to Caen. She there deceived nounced to him a production of their common friend'the tenderness of her aunt by the same stratagem

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which had deceived her father. She said to her elbow on the margin of the casement, her head that she would soon depart for England, where half concealed in the curtains, dreaming and listensome emigrant friends had prepared an asylum for ing to the sounds. The young musician encourher and a fortune which she could not expect in aged by this apparition of the attentive young girl, her own country. That pretext veiled the tender- never failed a single day to seat himself at his inness of her adieus and the interior preparations for strument at the same hour; Charlotte never a sinher departure. She had determined on it, in se- gle day to open her shutters. The taste for the cret, for the next day, the 9th of July, by the Paris same art seemed to have established a mute intel"Diligence." Charlotte filled those last hours with ligence between these two beings who did not manifestations of gratitude, of foresight and ten- know one another but in these echoes. The eve of derdess for that aunt to whom she had been indebted the day on which Charlotte, now confirmed in her for so long and kind a hospitality; she provided, by resolution, prepared to depart to accomplish it and a friend, for the fate of an old servant who had had to die, the piano was heard at the accustomed hour. the care of her youth; she commanded and payed Charlotte torn away, without doubt, from the fixed for, in advance, lo some of the operatives of Caen, concentration of her thoughts by the power of little presents of robes and embroidery, destined to habit and the attraction of the art which she loved, be carried after her departure as souvenirs to some opened her window, as usual, and appeared to hear of the young companions of her childhood ; she the notes with an attention as calm and musing as distributed her favorite books among the persons on other days. Yet she closed her windows with of ber intimacy; she did not reserve to carry with a kind of unusual precipitation, before the musician her but one volume of ;Plutarch, as if she had had closed his instrument, as if she wished to tear wished not to be separated in the crisis of her life herself hy violence from a painful adieu to the last from the society of those great men with whom pleasure which captivated her. she had lived and wished to die.

The next day, the young neighbor, having seated Finally, the 9th of July, very early in the morn- himself again at his instrument, looked to the boting, she look onder her arm a little package of tom of the court of the “Grand Manoir” opposite, garments the most indispensable ; she embraced to see if the first preludes would open the winher aunt and said to her that she was going to dow of the niece of Madame de Bretteville. The sketch the hay-makers in the neighboring meadows. window opened no more! It was thus he learned Some sketching paper in hand, she went out, never the departure of Charlotte. The instrument remore to reenter there.

sounded still, but the spirit of the young girl heard At the foot of the staircase, she encountered the no more but the stormy importunity of her own child of a poor workman, named Robert, who lodged idea, the call of death and the eulogies of posin the house upon the street; the child played terity. habitually in the court; she had sometimes given bio pictures. “Stop, Robert,” she said, handing to him her sketching paper of whic

she had no more need to keep her in countenance, “this is for The liberty and freedom of her conversation, in you, be good and embrace me; you will never see the voiture which carried her to Paris, did not inme more." And she embraced the child, leav- spire in the companions of her journey any other ing a tear upon his cheek. This was the last sentiment than that of admiration, of benevolence, lear upon the threshold of the house of her youth. and that natural curiosity which attaches to the She had no more to give but her blood.

name and the fate of an unknown girl, dazzling Her departure, of which the cause was un- with youth and beanty. During the first day she known, was revealed to her neighbors of the street never ceased to sport with a little girl whom acciSaint Jean by a circumstance which exhibits the dent had placed by the side of her in the voiture. ealm serenity of her soul as far as to the extremity Perhaps her love for children triumphed over her of ber resolution.

preoccupation, perhaps she had already laid aside la face of the house of Madame de Bretteville, the burden of her sufferings and wished to enjoy on the other side of the street Saint Jean, there those last hours of enjoyment with innocence and lived a respectable family of Caen named Lacon- with life. ture. The son of the house, impassioned for mu- The other travellers were exalted partisans of sic, consecrated regularly each day some hours in the “Mountain,” who avoided the suspicion of fedthe morning to his instrument. His windows, open- eralism at Paris and poured out imprecations against ed in summer, permitted the notes to float away the Gironde and adorations for Marat. Dazzled and resound as far as into the neighboring houses. by the grace of the young girl, they endeavored to Charlotte, as it seemed, to permit more freely the wrest from her her name, the object of her journey, entry of these melodies into her apartment, half and her address at Paris. Her isolation at that opened also her windows at the hour in which the age encouraged them to some familiarities, which music commenced and sometimes leaned upon her she repressed by the decorum of her manners, by

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