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country, does not see what it may cost him. May at having been delivered from a tyrant. If I hare peace be established as quickly as I desire it! Here sought to persuade you that I was going to Eng. is a grand preliminary. I enjoy a delicious peace land, it is because I hoped to remain unknown. I for two days past. The happiness of my country have found that impossible. I hope that you will makes mine. There is no devotion from which not be harrassed ; in any case, you have defenders one does not draw the more of enjoyment, the more at Caen. I have taken for defender Gustavos it has cost to decide on it. A vivid imagination, a Doulcet de Pontecoulant. Such an attack admits sensitive heart, promised a stormy life. I pray of no defence. It is merely for the form. Adiea, those, who should regret me, to consider it and 10 my dear papa ; I pray you to forget me, or rather rejoice. Among the moderns there are few patri- to rejoice at my lot. The cause is beautiful. I ots who know how to sacrifice themselves for their embrace my sister whom I love with all my heart. country. Almost all is egotism. What a sad peo- Do not forget that verse of Corneille, ple to form a republic !"
• The crime makes the shame, not the scaffold!' “ To-morrow at eight o'clock they judge me."
That allosion to a verse of her ancestor, in re
calling to her father the pride of name and heroism This letter was interrupted at these words by of blood, seemed to place her action under the safeher transfer to the Conciergerie. She continued guard of the genius of her family. She wardit in these terms in her new prison : “I continue. ed off feebleness or reproach from the heart of her I had had yesterday the idea of making a compli- father, in pointing to him the painter of Roman ment of my portrait to the department of the Cal. sentimeuts, applauding in advance her devotion. vados. The Committee of public safety has not answered me, and now it is too late! It is necessary to have a defender; that is the rule. I have taken mine on the Mountain. I have thought of asking Robespierre or Chabot.
The next day, at eight in the morning, the genTomorrow at eight o'clock my trial takes place. darmes came to conduct her to the revolutionary Probably at midday, I shall have lived, to make tribunal. The hall was situated above the vaults use of the Roman language. I do not know how of the Conciergerie. A dark, narrow funereal the last moments will pass. It is the end which staircase, creeping in the hollow of thick walls crowns the work. I have no need to affect insen- from the base of the Palais de Justice, conducted sibility, for up to this moment I have not the least the accused to the tribunal, and led back the confear of death. I have never valued life but for its demned into their dungeon. Before ascending she utility. Marat will not go to the Pantheon. Yet arranged her hair and her costume to appear with he well merited it.
decency before death ; then said smiling to the door Remember the affair of Mademoiselle de Forbin. keeper, who was present at these preparations : Here is her address in Switzerland. Say to her, “Monsieur Richard have a care, I pray you, that that I love her with all my heart. I am going to my breakfast may be ready when I shall come write to my father. I do not say any thing to my down froin above. My judges are, without doubt, other friends. I do not ask of them but a prompi in a hurry. I wish to make my last report with forgetfulness : their affliction would dishonor my Madame Richard and you." memory. Say to General Wimpfen, that I believe The hour of the trial of Charlotte Corday was I have aided him in gaining more than one battle, known the evening before in Paris. Curiosity, in facilitating peace. Adieu, Citizen. The pris- horror, interest, pity, had attracted an immense oners of the Conciergerie, far from abusing me, as multitude into the enclosure of the tribunal and the the people in the streets, have the air of pitying balls through which it is entered. When the accusme. Misery renders one sympathetic. This is ed approached, a low murmur arose as a maledicmy last reflection.”
tion on her name, from the bosom of that multitude. But scarcely had she cut her way through the crowd, and her supernatural beauty had radiated in all her looks, than this murmur of wrath changed into
a trembling interest and admiration. All the counHer letter to her father, the last written, was tenances passed from horror to tenderness ; her short and of a tone in which nature softened, instead features, exalted by the solemnity of the moment
, of smiling, as in that to Barbaroux. “Pardon me colored by emotion, troubled by the confusion of for having disposed of my life without your per- the young girl onder so many eyes, strengthened mission," she said. “I have avenged many inno- and ennobled by the grandeur even of a crime cent victims. I have prevented many other disas- which she bore in her soul and on her face as a ters. The people, one day disabused, will rejoice'virtue ; finally pride and modesty united and con
founded in her attitude, gave to her aspect a charm Very few ; I saw Larve, the officer of the Mu-
you confess to a priest who had taken the
“Since the 31st of May, when they arrested here the deputies of the people. I have killed one man to save a hundred thousand. I was a repub
lican long before the revolution.” XXXII.
Fauchet is confronted with her. “I do not When she was seated on the bench of the ac- know, Fauchet, but by sight," she said with diseased, they asked her if she had a defender. She dain, “ I regard him as a man without manners and replied that she had charged a friend with that without principles, and I despise him." role ; bat that not seeing him in the enclosure she The accuser reproaching her with having driven presumed he had failed in courage. The presi- the blow from above, downwards that it might be dent then pointed out to her an official defender. more sure, said to her that she must be well exerThis was the young Chauveau Lagorde, illustrious cised in crime without doubt. At this supposition, since by his defence of the Queen, and already which overthrew all her thoughts, in assimilating known for his eloquence and his courage in causes her to murderers by profession, she raised an exand on occasions in which the lawyer participated clamation of shame; “Oh, the monster!" she the perils of the accused. This choice of the cried, " he takes me for an assassin." president indicated a secret thought for her safety. Fouquier Tinville recapitulated the incidents of Chauveau Lagorde came to place himself at the the cause and concluded for death. bar. Charlotte regarded him with a scrutinizing The defender arose. “ The accused,” he said, and anxious eye, as if she had feared that to save "avows the crime, she avows a long premeditaher life, her defender might abandon something of tion, and she avows the circumstances the most his own bonor.
overwhelming. Citizens, here is her defence all The widow of Marat deposed with sobs. Char- entire. That imperturbable calm and complete ablotte, moved by the grief of this woman, cut short negation of self, which does not reveal any remorse her deposition, crying out "yes, yes, it is myself in the presence of death, that calm and that abnewho killed him. She recounted then the premed- gation, sublime under one aspect, are not in nature ; itation of the act conceived for three months, the they cannot be explained but by the exaltation of intention to strike the tyrant in the midst of the political fanaticism, which has put the poinard in Convention, the stratagem employed to approach her hand. It is for you to judge what weight a him. “I agree,” she said with humility, “ that fanaticism, so unshaken, should have in the balthese means were little worthy of me but it was ances of justice. I refer myself in this cause to Decessary to appear to esteem this man to arrive your conscience.” at him. “Who has inspired you with so much The jury brought in with unanimity the penalty batred against Marat ?" they asked of her. of death. She heard the verdict without changing
" I had no need of the hate of others," she re-color. The president having asked her if she had plied, "I had enough of my own; besides, per- anything to say on the nature of the penalty which sons erecote badly that which they do not con- was inflicted on her, she disdained to respond, and ceive theaiselves."
approaching her defender : “ Monsieur,” she said " What did you hale in him ?"
to him, with a penetrating and soft voice, “you have ** His crimes !"
defended me as I wished to be, I thank you for it. "Ia killing him what did you expect ?" I owe you some testimonial of my gratitude and of "To restore peace to my country."
my esteem, I offer one worthy of you. These "Do you believe then that you have assassinated messieurs have just declared my goods confiscated; all the Marats ?"
I owe something at the prison, I leave as a legacy " He being dead the others will tremble per- to you the debt to pay for me. haps."
Whilst they interrogated her, and the jury gathThey presented to her the knife that she might ered her answers, she perceived in the auditory a recognize it. She repulsed it with a gesture of painter who sketched her features. Without being disgust.
interrupted, she turned herself with complaisance, * Yes," she said, " I recognize it."
and smiling, on the side of the artist that he might The crime having grown cold, she suffered horror better trace her image. She thought on immoriu seeing the instrument which consommated it. tality. She took her position already before pos
" What persons did you visit at Caen?" 'terity.
He who did it acquitted himself with all the dig. Behind the painter, a young man whose bland the last moment." This vengeance made a false
nily possible ; I shall be grateful to him for it to hair, blue eye, and pale tint revealed a man of the blow at him whom she accused on the border of north, stood up on the end of his feet to see better the tomb. The young Pontecaulant being absent the accused. He held his eyes fixed on her as a from Paris had not received the letter; his genephantom whose look had contracted the immobility rosity and his courage answered for his acceptance. of death. At each response of the young girl the Charlotte carried away a mistake and an injustice masculine sense and the feminine sound of that
to the scaffold. voice made him tremble and change color. He
The artist, who nad sketched the features of seemed to drink in with his eyes her words, and 10 Charlotte Corday before the tribunal, was M. Haassociate himself by gesture, by attitude and en- uer, painter and officer of the National Guard of thusiasm with the sentimients which the accused the section of the Theatre-Francais. Having reexpressed. Frequently, not being able to restrain entered her dungeon, she begged the door-keeper to his emotion, he provoked by involuntary exclama- permit him to enter to finish his work. M. Hacer tions, the murmurs of the auditors and the atten- was introduced. Charlotte thanked him for the tion of Charlotte Corday. At the moment the interest he appeared to take in her fate, and took President pronounced the decree of death, the her position before him with serenity. It might young man half arose with the gesture of one who have been said that in permitting him to transmit protects in his heart and reseated himself imme- her features and her physiognomy to posterity, she diately, as if strength failed him. Charlotte, in-charged him to transmit her soul and her patriotsensible to her own lot, saw this movement. She ism visible to generations to come. She conversed comprehended that at the moment when all aban- with M. Hauer about bis art, the event of the day, doned her on earth, one soul attached itself to her’s, of the peace which the act gave her, which she and that in the midst of this indifferent or hostile had consummated. She spoke of the young friends multitude, she had an unknown friend. Her look of her childhood at Caen, and prayed the artist to thanked him. This was their only conversation copy, in miniature, the large portrait which he here below.
made, and to send that miniature to her family. That young stranger was Adam Lux, a German
In the midst of that conversation, mingled with republican, sent to Paris by the revolutionists of silence, they heard a gentle knock at the door of Mayence, to arrange, in concert, the movements of the dungeon placed behind the accused. They Germany with those of France in the common opened, it was the executioner. Charlotte, torncause of human reason and the liberty of the peo- ing at the noise, perceived the scissors and the red ple. His eyes followed the accused up to the mo- “chemise" which the executioner carried on his ment when she disappeared among the sabres of arm. Her countenance grew pale and she shadthe gendarmes under the vault of the staircase. dered at that exhibition. “ What already!" she His thoughts never quitted her more.
cried involuntarily. Soon she restrengthened herself, and casting a look on the unfinished portrait : "Monsieur,” she said to the artist with a sad and benevolent smile, “I do not know how to thank
you for the care you have taken. I have only that Having reëntered the Conciergerie, which was to offer you, preserve it as a memorial of your to give her up in a few minutes to the scaffold, goodness and of my gratitude.” In saying these Charlotte Corday smiled on her prison companions words she took the scissors from the band of the ranged in the corridors and the courts to see her executioner, and cutting a lock of her long hair, pass. She said to the door-keeper, “I had hoped which escaped from her bonnet, she presented it to we should breakfast together again; but the judges M. Hauer. The gendarmes and the executioner, have kept me above so long that you must pardon at these words and this gesture, felt the tears mount me for not having kept my word.” The execu- into their eyes. tioner entered. She asked of him one minute to The family of M. Hauer still possesses this porfinish a letter which was begun. That letter was trait interrupted by death. The head alone was neither a weakness nor an expression of the ten-painted, the bust was scarcely sketched. But the derness of her soul; it was the cry of indignant painter, who followed with his eye the preparations friendship which wishes to leave an immortal re- for the scaffold, was so struck with the effect of proach to the baseness of an abandonment. It was the sinister splendor which the red “chemise." addressed to Doulcet de Pontecaulant, whom she added to the beauty of the model that, after the had known at her aunt's, and whom she believed punishment of Charlotte, he painted her in this she had invoked in vain as a defender. Here is costume. that note: “Doulcet de Pontecaulant is a base man A priest, authorized by the public accuser, pretw have refused to defend me where it was so easy. sented himself according to usage, to offer her the
consolations of religion. “Thank those who have till then unknown! emosions whose sweetness equals been so attentive as to send you," she said to him their bitterness, and which will never die but with with an affectionate grace, but I have no need of me. Let them sanctify the place of her punishyour ministry. The blood which I have shed, and ment and raise there her statue with these words : my own which I am going to pour out, are the only Plus grande que Brutus ! To die for her, to be sacrifices I can make to the Eternal.” The exe- buffered as she was by the hand of the executioner, cutioner cut off her hair, tied her hands and put on to feel in dying the same cold steel which cut off her the “ chemise" of the executed. “ Behold," the angelic head of Charlotte, to be united to her she said smiling, “the toilette of death made by in heroism, in liberty, in love, in death-these, hands a little rude, but it conducts to immortality.” henceforth, are my only desires ! I shall never
She gathered up her long hair, looked at it the reach that sublime virtue ; but is it not just that last time, and gave it to Madame Richard. At the the object adored should always be above the adomoment she mounted the cart to go to execution a rer? storm broke on Paris. The thunder and the rain did not disperse the multitude that encumbered the squares, the bridges and the streets on the route of
XXXVI. the cortege. Hordes of infuriated women pursued her with their maledictions. Insensible to these | Thus an enthusiastic and spiritual lover, germioutrages, she cast around a radiating eye of seren- nated from the last look of the victim, accornpaity and of pity on the people.
nied her without her knowledge, step by step, to the scaffold, and prepared to follow her, to merit
with its model and its ideal the eternal union of XXXV.
souls. The cart stopped. Charlotte grew pale on
seeing the instrument of punishment. She quickly The heavens became clear. The rain, which resumed her natural color and mounted the slippery glued her garments to her limbs, sketched the steps of the scaffold with a step as firm and as light graceful contours of her body under the humid as ber dragging " chemise" and tied hands permitwool, as that of a woman coming from a bath. ted. When the executioner, lo uncover her neck, Her hands tied behind her back, forced her to raise tore off the neckerchief which covered her breast, op her head. That constraint of the muscles gave humiliated modesty gave her more emotion than more immobility to her attitude and made the curves the death so near at hand; but resuming her seof her stature more prominent. The setting sun renity and her almost joyous transport towards illumined her front with rays like to an Aureola. eternity, she placed herself, her neck under the The color of her cheeks, heightened by the reflec- hatchet. Her head rolled and rebounded. One tion of the red chemise, gave her physiognomy a of the servants of the executioner, named Legros, splendor which dazzled the eyes. One could not took the head in one hand and buffetted it with the tell if this was the apotheosis or the punishment of other, through a vile adulation of the people. The beauty which this tumultuons cortege followed. cheeks of Charlotte reddened, it is said, from the Robespierre, Danton, Camille Desmoulins, placed outrage, as if dignity and modesty had survived for themselves on the passage to obtain a glimpse of a moment, the sentiment of life. The irritated her. All those who had the presentiment of as- multitude did not accept the homage. A chill of 828sination, were curious to study in her features horror ran through the crowd and demanded venthe expression of the fanaticism which might me- geance of that indignity. bace them the next day. She resembled the celestial vengeance satisfied and transfigured. She appeared, at some moments, to seek in the thousands of visages, a look of intelligence on which her ere might repose. Adam Lux awaited the
XXXVII. eart at the entry of the “rue Saint Honoré.” He Such was the end of Marat. Such were the piously followed the wheels to the foot of the scaf-life and death of Charlotte Corday. In the presfold. "He engraved on his heart,” he himself ence of murder, history does not dare to glorify; said, " that unchangeable douceur in the midst of in the presence of heroism, history dares not to the barbarous howlings of the multitude, that look wither. The appreciation of such an act places 80 gentle and so penetrating those vivid, yet hu- the mind in the formidable alternative of not remid sparks, which escaped as so many inflamed cognizing virtue, or of praising assassination. As thoughts from those beautiful eyes, in which spoke that painter who, despairing of being able to renforth a soul as intrepid as tender ; charming eyes, der the complex expression of a mixed sentiment, which would have moved a rock !" he cries. ...cast a veil over the face of his model and left a "Unique and immortal souvenirs,” he added, “which problem to the spectator, we must cast this myshave broken my heart and filled it with emotions, tery to be debated forever in the abyss of the hu
I love. I love the beautiful
1 glory in its might ; I yield me to its magic sway
With rapturous delight; I gaze upon its rainbow hues,
My spirit hears its tone, And wakens into melody
Beneath its spell alone.
The beautiful, the beautiful!
'Tis scattered o'er the earth ;We see it in the autumn gloom,
And in the summer mirth; Upon the wild and stormy main,
In copse and valley green, And in the dim old wilderness
The beautiful is seen.
man conscience. There are some things which man does not know how to judge and which mount without mediation and without appeal 10 the direct tribunal of God. There are some human acts so mingled with weakness and force, with pure intention and culpable means, with error and truth, with murder and martyrdom, that they cannot be glorified by a single word, and one does not know whether to call them criminal or virtuous. The culpable devotion of Charlotte Corday is in the number of those acts which admiration and horror should leave forever in doubt, if the “morale" did not reprove them. As to ourselves, if we had to find for this sublime liberator of her courtry and this generous murderess of tyranny, a name which should include at once the enthusiasm of our emotion for her and the severity of our judgment on her act, we should create a word which would unite the two extremes of admiration and horror in the language of men, and we should call her the angel of assassination.
A few days after the punishment, Adam Lux published the apology of Charlotte Corday and associated himself with her attack, to be associated with her martyrdom. Arrested for this hold provocation, he was cast into the Abbaye. He cried out, in passing the threshold of the prison, “ I am going there to die for her !" And he died, in effect, soon, saluting as the altar of liberty and love, the scaffold which the blood of his model had consecrated.
The heroism of Charlotte was chanted by André Chenier, who was soon to die himself .... for liberty. The poetry of all nations possessed itself of the name of Charlotte Corday, to make of it the terror of tyrants. “What tomb is that ?" sings the German poet Klopstock. “It is the tomb of Charlotte. Let us go to gather flowers and scatter the leaves over her ashes, for she died for her country. No, no, do not gather any thing. Let us go to seek a weeping-willow and let us plant it upon her green sod, for she has died for her country, No, no, do not plant any thing, but weep and let your tears be blood, for she has died in vain for her country.”
On learning in his prison, the crime, the judg. ment and the death of Charlotte Corday, Vergniaud exclaimed, “She kills us, but she teaches us how to die."
The beautiful, the beautiful!
'Tis where in splendor rise The columns of the princely dome
Beneath the blue-arched skies; "Tis where the deathless ivy clings
Amid the ruins hoar, Or a woodbine twines in rustic grace
Beside the cottage door.
The beautiful, the beautiful!
It breathes in every word
When e'er its depths are stirred.
of a dark and flashing eye,
When passion's storm is bigh.
'Tis in the aged brow-
Our youthful spirits bow;
or rosy infancy,-
The beautiful we see.
It mingles with our dreams,-
In strange and filful gleams;
And forms of light divine,
Their magic spells entwine.
When other sources fail,
And lift the temple-veil ;
And deep affections lie,
I love, I love the beautiful,
Wherever it be found; Its spirit with a magic spell
My eager soul bath bound; Its presence hath a holy power
Rebellious thought to tame, And mingle with all earthly bliss
Its great Creator's name.