So when she read exhortations like "Let Marat's head fall and the Republic is saved!" posted along the streets of Caen, Corday - a young and beautiful descendant of the dramatist Corneille - rose to claim her destined role. On 9 July she boarded the Paris coach. On the morning of the thirteenth she walked from her lodgings to the Palais Royal and along the way bought a newspaper, a black hat with green ribbons, and a large kitchen knife. After one abortive attempt she managed to slip into the house she sought, on the rue des Cordeliers, and then, by loudly declaring that she bore valuable information, to confront Marat himself.
Marat lay, as he had for weeks, in his shoe-shaped tub, attempting with solutions of kaolin to relieve the scaly sores that afflicted his body. A board served as his desk. His receiving en bain had the advantage that his broad shoulders and brawny arms were fully visible while his almost stunted lower body was not. As she sat at his side, Charlotte described the rebellious atmosphere at Caen. Asked for names, she cooly ticked them off. Marat was pleased. "In a few days I will have them all guillotined," he said, and thereby made easier what followed. Like the tragedienne she saw herself, Charlotte Corday stood erect, pulled the knife from her bodice, and aimed true
Taken from 'First Encounters', published by Knopf, New YorkReuse content