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August 13, 2010

Post-Crime: Charlotte Corday

After her arrest, Charlotte Corday was locked up in a cell by herself.  From the cell she could hear voices from the streets, including those shouting the news of her recent crime against Marat, as well as the people who cried for death to the assassin.  She also heard cries that her "accomplice" had been arrested as well, a man she swore knew nothing of the plot.

To enhance the uncomfort she already felt, she was watched twenty four hours a day by two armed men.  Having these gens d'armes was not typical for a female prisoner, and Corday make constant complaints about it.  She protested as it was a profanation of her sex, but nothing was done about it.

A last request of sorts, which Corday made was to have her portrait painted in the form of a miniature.  In a letter to the Committee of General Safety she wrote, "As I have yet some moments to live, may I hope, citizens, that you will permit me to sit for my portrait, as I would fain leave this good souvenir to my friends. besides, as the likenesses of good citizens are carefully preserved, so curiosity sometimes seeks those of great criminals, in order to perpetuate their crime."

During her trial, Corday noticed a man painting.  When she realized he was painting an image of her she smiled.  The artist was M. Hauer.  He was unable to finish at the trial but Corday requested he have a few minutes to finish his work, which was granted when she returned to the prison, right before her hair was cut in preparation for her execution.

3 comments

  1. Poor Joan of Arc suffered the same thing when she was in prison, guarded by men 24 hours.

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  2. Thank you for this post. I love the tidbits of gossip intermingled with the historical references. You have a truly beautiful blog. I also wanted to let you know that I am featuring you along with a few others, on my Beautiful Blogs Friday, at http://jsimplylive.blogspot.com/2010/08/beautiful-blogs-friday-let-them-eat.html

    Have a great day,
    Angie

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