Marie Antoinette Online Forum
http://forum.marie-antoinette.org/

Charlotte Corday
http://forum.marie-antoinette.org/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=2058
Page 1 of 2

Author:  baron de batz [ Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Charlotte Corday

This interesting figure of the revolution is close to my heart. Indeed what a fascinating and enigmatic young woman she was. Brought up in a city that was my home for many years until just recently, Caen In Normandy, she was in her own words "a republican well before the revolution". When she sees the damage done by Marat and the Montagnards and Jacobins, she decides to take matters in hand. She considers that she has to kill one man to save tens of thousands. Her trip to Paris, the first time she will ever have set foot in the place, passes off as in a dream. Taking the postal carriage in the company of a number of young males, who cannot help but admire her proud beauty and try their luck with her, she arrives two days later in the rue Notre Dame des Victoires, the very road where I first worked in Paris. She takes lodgings at the nearby and aptly named Hotel de la Providence (now N°14 rue Hérold) and rests before visiting a "Girondin" friend whom she advises to leave Paris for his own safety. That night she sleeps soundly, the sleep of the righteous or those that consider themselves righteous at least. (to be continued)

Author:  Délicate fleur [ Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Her story is cloaked in romance and she definitely had a thrilling role/catalyst to play in the early days of the Revolution. I am wondering, is there a good balanced biography of her? I know nothing of her but short notes and the art depictions.

Author:  DreamersRose [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

There's a biography of her listed on Amazon, paperback, 2009.

The Terror wouldn't have ended without her, IMHO.

Author:  Rosalie [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

I also find she is a fascinating character: her story seems even more adventurous and incredible than a work of fiction. She felt she had a mission she considered in idealistic terms: she thought things would be better after her killing Marat. Actually, I think she made things worse; I mean, I think the Terror would have happened anyway, but maybe the Jacobins were just looking for a suitable opportunity and a "martyr" like Marat came to be depicted was just the best they could hope for in order to stir popular indignation.

Author:  baron de batz [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Yes there's some truth in that. After the murder, whilst still in the appartments of Marat, seeing the braying croud gathering below, she murmurs: "They want my death, when they should be setting up a altar to my name for having rid them of a monster"....

Anyway the story continues...after having spent a quiet and restful night Charlotte wanders around the quartier of the Place des Victoires and having walked round the gardens of the Palais Royale she wanders into one of the shops under the arcades there and seeing a long thin kitchen knife, she quite spontaneously purchases it and hides it in its' leather sheath against her bosom under her light shawl.

She then proceeds back to the hotel and hires a carriage taxi to Marat's address in the rue des Cordeliers. I think that she simply asks the driver to take her to Marat's home, already well known to most Parisians. Upon her arrival Marat's companion tells her that he is not available to be seen, and she is turned away. She returns to her hotel and not to be outdone she immediately writes and sends off a letter saying she has important information on counter revolutionary factions in Caen and which she wishes to give in person to the "ami du peuple".

That evening she returns to Marat's appartments and this time is met at the door by the concierge who lets her enter. In the hallway she enters into a heated discussion with Marat's companion and the concierge, and raising her voice intentionally so that he can hear her, the door to his bathroom being ajar, she manages to catch his attention. Marat asks them to let her to come to him, a decision that will cost him his life.

Once next to Marat, sat up in his half sized bath full of soothing lotions to ease the irritation of his purulent exzema and with a wet warm turban on his head to give some relief against the terrible itching, Charlotte starts to explain what brings her to Paris. She finds it hard to reconcile this almost kind faced man with the monster she imagined, and feels almost pity for him in his sorry state, sat up writing the latest edition of his revolutionary pamphlet "Friend of the People" on a wooden plank laid across the bathtub.

Upon his questioning , she starts to give names of subversive Girondin leaders in Caen. He smiles and says: "Good, soon they will all be guillotined on the Place de la Révolution". As she herself later admits, these words were the catalyst she needed and brought about his death. She quickly stands up and revealing her knife she plunges it up the the hilt in one blow below the shoulder blade, between the second and third rib, perforating the lung and severing the aorta.

In the confusion brought about by his cries, she tries to escape but one of the men drawn by the noise manages to get her to fall by lunging at her with a chair. As she struggles to get up, he subdues her in his own words by grabbing her around her breasts and bringing her down again.

A hostile crowd quickly gather below, and when they hear of the fate of Marat, they quickly start calling out for blood. Interestingly the doctor called to the scene is none other than Pelletan , the man who cut out and stole away with the heart of the deceased Dauphin in the Temple prison. And the man who rescues Charlotte from the vengeful crowd and whisks her into the horse drawn taxi, saying that the Republic needs to find out who is behind such a crime, is none other than the famous Drouet, the man responsable for the Royal family's capture at Varennes! As a member of the Comité du Salut, he was quickly called to the scene....(to be continued)

Author:  baron de batz [ Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Charlotte is taken to the Conciergerie, and soon after her trail begins, before the famous "accusateur public", Fouquier Tinville, who was to instruct the trial of Marie Antoinette some months later. She appears in court neatly dressed in a style typical of the late 18th century, a shawl covering her cleavage, but leaving enough on view to draw the following comment from a journalist: " this woman revealed enough of her breasts to the court to show that she was not to be considered a girl anymore...". Her self-confidence, her demeanour, her replies, her posture, all showed that in some sense Charlotte Corday's hour had come. She was determined to show that her act was the result of considered reflection and that she claimed this act as necessary to save the nation from a tyrant. She reserves an extraordinary reply for Fouquier Tinville, who hints to her that this may not be the first time she had killed and that she may have a certain practice. She looks him straight in the eyes and retorts:'" Ah the monster, he takes me for an assassin!" Which of course she was......but not in her mind!

Another link to the trial of Marie-Antoinette is that Charlotte Corday is appointed the same lawyer as the Queen, Chauveau-Lagarde. When the jury, who are more and more impressed by the calm and proud demeanour of the yourg woman, secretly suggest to Chauveau-Lagarde to plead insanity in order to avoid the death penalty, the latter has the tact not to propose this to his client, who would have been humiliated and appalled by the thought that her actions were not the result of sober reflection. Seeing through this act to the end for Charlotte meant for her donning the red shirt of the assassin, travelling the same route as the Queen would take some months later along the Rue St Honoré, and laying her head down under the blade of the "national razor". This was her vindication. After the verdict she quietly thanks Chauveau-Lagarde for his discretion.

Another extraordinary detail of this young woman's calm during her trail is when she notices that a painter is making her portrait, she turns her head slightly to one side so that he can get a better view of her!

She is duly sentenced to death, and returns to her cell to prepare herself. As with the Queen, Mme Richard is the concierge in charge, and Sanson will be her executioner. She writes a last letter, incredible in its simple and calm lucidity. She cuts her own hair and gives some locks to Sanson, one of which she bequeaths to Mme Richard for her kind treatment. She has her ankles and hands bound, slips on in full view of all the red shirt of the assassin, and moves out to the Cour de mai, the exact same last few steps to the waiting tumbril as MA a few months later. Likewise she refuses the intervention of a priest. That 17th July her's is the only execution, and a huge hostile crowd awaits in the surrounding streets. As the tumbril moves off the heavens open and Charlotte is soaked to the skin by a heavy shower, her loose red shirt clinging to her. Sanson remarks: "You must find the journey long....?" She replies: "Bah...we're always sure to arrive!" As the tumbril pulls in to the Place de la révolution, Sanson stands between her and the scaffold, blocking her view; She moves to one side to see, and as he continues to block her view; she exclaims: "I've every right to be curious, I've never seen one before!" As the blade falls on her young neck, and her head falls into the basket, a certain Legros picks it up and delivers a sound smack to her cheek. Eye witnesses attest to the fact that the face blushes with shame. Thankfully this idiot is arrested, but leaves prison after only 8 days of detention....

if you want to contemplate the exact same scene as Charlotte did on arriving in Paris, then look up on Google the painting by Boilly "L'arrivée d'une diligence dans la cour des messageries rue Notre dames des Victoires"

Author:  Délicate fleur [ Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Is this the painting you speak of?

Attachment:
m503604_86ee1962_p.jpg
m503604_86ee1962_p.jpg [ 88.12 KiB | Viewed 6956 times ]

Author:  baron de batz [ Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Merci Fleur!

Cet endroit doit être exactement là où j'ai travaillé sept ans! Rue notre dames des Victoires, parce que je crois reconnâître la place de l'église avant celle des Victoires.

Author:  baron de batz [ Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Sorry about that! I was still on the French forum in my head!

I said that this place must be exactly where I worked for seven years in Paris. Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, because I think I can recognize at the end of the road the Place de l'eglise before arriving on the Place des Victoires.

Author:  Woodland Nymph [ Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Thank you for all of the interesting information about Charlotte, Baron! I, too, am very much intrigued by Charlotte Corday and her thrilling story; I agree that it sounds like a scene straight from a dramatic novel. The kind of bravery and unflinching faith she had in her self and her beliefs is fascinating to me. I can see her so vividly in my mind: the sweet faced woman hiding a knife next to her heart, which beats wildly as she looks Marat in the eye. It all does have a bit of a Shakespearean spice to it.

Author:  baron de batz [ Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

Sweet faced, well maybe, but not sweet. There was something pretty sexy about her and she attracted men and knew it, and she used that too, even though she died a virgin, as they had the bad taste to verify post mortem on her headless corpse. She was pretty coquette and desperately wanted her portrait done before going to the scaffold. And at court she removed her fichu to uncover her generous cleavage which was noticed and recorded by observers who remarked on her being a fully mature young woman. Indeed it was in that cleavage that she hid the knife that killed Marat and there is for me something symbolic in that, as she used her natural charms to fatal effect, and it was probable that Marat was quite enjoying having this very attractive young woman sitting beside him as he soaked in his bath. Charlotte was quite clearly a beautiful young woman but also very unusual, seemingly so modern in some of her sharp and cutting replies, as the way she put down the man trying to pick her up on the stagecoach from Caen. She was proud and driven and extremely courageous, as she knew the very probable outcome of her actions was her own demise. She was a true patriot and her own essence as a blossoming and highly attractive woman was secondary to the cause she had embraced. However as with all young women embracing such a cause there was inside her a struggle between her consciousness of her own beauty and the future she could have because of it, and the strong pull of her political beliefs and the abnegation of all personal happiness that she believed those beliefs required. For me of all the revolutionary figures she has the most romantic attraction, and I'm no doubt a bit in love with her... :oops: There is a small museum in Versailles (Musée Lambinet) with a room devoted to her with the only portrait done of her during her lifetime, in her cell, that very portrait that she had so wanted done before her execution. It is very moving to contemplate a painting that she herself must have seen in her last moments.

Author:  Délicate fleur [ Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

it's funny, because I can totally see the allure of Corday.

On the other side of it, she was a terrorist. At least in the eyes of the Revolutionaries. As royalist sympathisers, we all probably feel she did the right thing (perhaps?) but to them it was murder. It's no different to Muslim extremists that think by murdering Western figures it's 'just cause'.

She was a terribly attractive woman, though.

Author:  Ludy [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

baron de batz wrote:
Sweet faced, well maybe, but not sweet. There was something pretty sexy about her and she attracted men and knew it, and she used that too, even though she died a virgin, as they had the bad taste to verify post mortem on her headless corpse. She was pretty coquette and desperately wanted her portrait done before going to the scaffold. And at court she removed her fichu to uncover her generous cleavage which was noticed and recorded by observers who remarked on her being a fully mature young woman. Indeed it was in that cleavage that she hid the knife that killed Marat and there is for me something symbolic in that, as she used her natural charms to fatal effect, and it was probable that Marat was quite enjoying having this very attractive young woman sitting beside him as he soaked in his bath. Charlotte was quite clearly a beautiful young woman but also very unusual, seemingly so modern in some of her sharp and cutting replies, as the way she put down the man trying to pick her up on the stagecoach from Caen. She was proud and driven and extremely courageous, as she knew the very probable outcome of her actions was her own demise. She was a true patriot and her own essence as a blossoming and highly attractive woman was secondary to the cause she had embraced. However as with all young women embracing such a cause there was inside her a struggle between her consciousness of her own beauty and the future she could have because of it, and the strong pull of her political beliefs and the abnegation of all personal happiness that she believed those beliefs required. For me of all the revolutionary figures she has the most romantic attraction, and I'm no doubt a bit in love with her... :oops: There is a small museum in Versailles (Musée Lambinet) with a room devoted to her with the only portrait done of her during her lifetime, in her cell, that very portrait that she had so wanted done before her execution. It is very moving to contemplate a painting that she herself must have seen in her last moments.



I doubt she used her charm with Marat, she came to him for political reasons, he was reading a list of named when she stabbed him. And the fact that he was in his bath was merely due to his severe skin disease he caught while hiding in the attics.

Author:  Ludy [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

I always had trouble with Charlotte Corday, although I only read a very short biography by Castelot. I understand your admiration on one hand, and I have never been fond of Marat as a politician. However, the very idea of stabbing an extremely sick man in his bath is repulsive to me. I find that extremely cowardly especially if she resorted to using her beauty and charms. I cannot possibly support that, whatever the reason, whatever the justification. But that is only my personal feeling about it.

Author:  baron de batz [ Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Charlotte Corday

I wouldn't tackle me on Charlotte Corday if i were you. :wink:

Marat was writing as she came in. Charlotte provided the liist of names that he was reading as she stabbed him.

Charlotte did most probably use her charming appearance if nothing else to prolong the meeting, and we know she dressed up for it and brought a pretty dress with her from Caen.

Everyone knows that Marat had severe skin problems and soaked for long hours in his half sized bath. However he certainly wasn't in the habit of receiving young women when in his bathtub! She had the greatest difficulty gaining access to him. Obviously she came to him for political reasons, what else?!!

Page 1 of 2 All times are UTC
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
http://www.phpbb.com/