In this manner have the Beautifullest and the Squalidest come in collision, and extinguished one another. Jean-Paul Marat and Marie-Anne Charlotte Corday both, suddenly, are no more. ’Day of the Preparation of Peace?’ Alas, how were peace possible or preparable, while, for example, the hearts of lovely Maidens, in their convent-stillness, are dreaming not of Love-paradises, and the light of Life; but of Codrus’-sacrifices, and death well earned? That Twenty-five million hearts have got to such temper, this is the Anarchy; the soul of it lies in this: whereof not peace can be the embodyment! The death of Marat, whetting old animosities tenfold, will be worse than any life. O ye hapless Two, mutually extinctive, the Beautiful and the Squalid, sleep ye well,—in the Mother’s bosom that bore you both!
This was the History of Charlotte Corday; most definite, most complete; angelic-demonic: like a Star! Adam Lux goes home, half-delirious; to pour forth his Apotheosis of her, in paper and print; to propose that she have a statue with this inscription, Greater than Brutus. Friends represent his danger; Lux is reckless; thinks it were beautiful to die with her.
In Civil War.
But during these same hours, another guillotine is at work, on another: Charlotte, for the Girondins, dies at Paris to-day; Chalier, by the Girondins, dies at Lyons to-morrow.
From rumbling of cannon along the streets of that City, it has come to firing of them, to rabid fighting: Nievre-Chol and the Girondins triumph;—behind whom there is, as everywhere, a Royalist Faction waiting to strike in. Trouble enough at Lyons; and the dominant party carrying it with a high hand! For indeed, the whole South is astir; incarcerating Jacobins; arming for Girondins: wherefore we have got a ‘Congress of Lyons;’ also a ‘Revolutionary Tribunal of Lyons,’ and Anarchists shall tremble. So Chalier was soon found guilty, of Jacobinism, of murderous Plot, ’address with drawn dagger on the sixth of February last;’ and, on the morrow, he also travels his final road, along the streets of Lyons, ’by the side of an ecclesiastic, with whom he seems to speak earnestly,’—the axe now glittering high. He could weep, in old years, this man, and ‘fall on his knees on the pavement,’ blessing Heaven at sight of Federation Programs or like; then he pilgrimed to Paris, to worship Marat and the Mountain: now Marat and he are both gone;—we said he could not end well. Jacobinism groans inwardly, at Lyons; but dare not outwardly. Chalier, when the Tribunal sentenced him, made answer: “My death will cost this City dear.”