A little while ago, at the bottom of the staircase, Senart had consulted his Police File for the last time. In it, it is said that she, who is called “the Mother of God” by adepts that are more numerous every day, is 69 years old, that she is the daughter of a poor Norman labourer, hired on a daily basis, and that she was a servant for a very long time. When, in her 50’s, she suddenly has her “Revelation”, she hurries to a merchant of “instruments of penitence” and invests the savings of a lifetime in an incredible collection of cilices, iron belts, bracelets “a picquais” and metallic garters, lined with horsehair. At night she sleeps on a cross which is a veritable torture rack, also garnished with steel spikes. Although completely illiterate, she starts to cathechise. Not without success, since the Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor de Beaumont, becomes worried and asks her in writing to tell him about the lights that she thinks to have received. A letter from her Archbishop! The little good sense which remains in Catherine Theot abandons her and here she is running around the streets, stirring up the passers-by, interrupting sermons and cornering predicators on their way out, to accuse them of being heretics… One of them sues and the visionary finds herself for three years at the Salpetriere in the non-dangerous mentally deranged sector. She is then taken in by a dressmaker, who is just as mad as she is, and for ten years, living a retired life, the two good women will pass the time retouching their sulphurous visions… When the revolutionary hurricane is unleashed, they re-surface and set up their mirage offices on the Sainte-Genevievre mountain, where we now find them… The Eclaireuse exclaims:
“Kneel, mortals! You are going to receive the seven gifts of God!”
The two sheep drop to their knees. They are asked if they can read. They reply “a little”.
The Theot passes behind Senart and seizes his head which she presses strongly. He feels the elderly woman’s mouth touch his forehead, eyelids, the back of an ear and his chin twice. The beautiful Eclaireuse demands:
A rough ordeal! But as a zealous policeman, Senart obeys and embraces the old woman everywhere. The Chanteuse then asks:
“Son and Mother, kiss each other on the mouth!”
There, heroism is needed, but on we go, for the Republic!
Heron is inflicted with the same touching and, as soon as he has finished, everyone enters into a trance, kneels, prays, and begins canticles. A beautiful young woman keeps her mouth pressed against that of Catherine for long minutes. She doesn’t even stop when the Colombe appears in a panic, crying out:
“We have been betrayed! There are soldiers everywhere in the street!… They are climbing the stairs!”
The man in the white riding cloak, a former Chartreux by the name of Dom Gerle, now defrocked, also a former member of the Assemblee constituante, wants to flee. Heron points one of his guns on his face, while Senart, more dead than alive, finds the strength to open the window and call out:
“The Guard! Help, Gendarmes!…”
A few instants later, a strange cortege goes down the Rue de l’Estrapade: the “Mother of God”, her head wobbling, trots gently between two Gendarmes, followed by her flock of Illuminated surrounded by National Guards.
In front, walk the two sycophants, Heron radiant, rattling his artillery, Senart shifty, his head invisible under his bicorn.
They arrive in front of the former College Louis le Grand, transformed into a Police Room and a Prison. In this corridor, less than fifteen years before, Robespierre, then a Law student, was ruminating his dreams of grandeur, sombre and solitary. Vadier occupies a little office there, where the Accused will be interrogated soon.
He will learn that the Mother teaches that the Incorruptible is the new Messiah, the incarnation of the Supreme Being, sent to Earth to transform France into Paradise…
That’s all that he wants to know.
A few days later, it is the incredible Festival of the Supreme Being, the most astonishing day in the History of Paris.
[see https://marilynkaydennis.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/robespierres-one-day-religion/ and https://marilynkaydennis.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/robespierres-one-day-religion-part-2/ and https://marilynkaydennis.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/robespierres-one-day-religion-part-3/ ]
On this day, the aim is to abolish two thousand years of christianism and go back to the great celebrations of Antiquity, with Liberty floats drawn by the People of Paris, the cremation of the Statue of Atheism, and the sermon by Robespierre, who is already no more than the fanatical priest of the great cult of Death. However, while France is panting and agonizing in the blue shadow of the Machine, this day marks the pinnacle of the man who had concentrated into his hands more power than any other in France, before or after him. It will precipitate him also toward a vertiginous and absurd end which would occur less than two months later.
At the Convention, eight days later, Barere explodes his bomb: Robespierre was the disciple of an old, mad, mystical woman! It is Catherine Theot, the Mother of God, who invented the Supreme Being and who persuaded the Incorruptible that he was the new Messiah! To perfect the trap, Vadier gives it vaudeville colours. He lets it be understood that Robespierre was effectively one of the sect’s Initiates and that he was the first to suck the chin of the old witch!
All of this is false, of course. It is all just a diabolical machination, served by lucky coincidence. The Convention doesn’t care. On the benches of the famous long room of the Tuileries, the Deputies roll around with laughter, and an immense dream crumbles…
“Is it really true that you knew about the Theot’s doings, Comrade Citizen? What did it feel like, to embrace the Mother of God on the mouth?…”
Stunned at first, Robespierre becomes indignant. Lengthily, as usual, he confides to his colleagues his astonishement and his pain, before this indecent buffoonery. Vadier retorts:
“What? This female conspirator, who sacrifices to superstition and old idols, is only a ‘woman worthy of contempt’?”
“I didn’t say that! You must understand…”
The embarrassment of the man, who had so many times pulverised much more serious arguments, is an irreparable error. He is booed, his speech will not be printed and sent to the departements. The Incorruptible will fall back down onto his bench. He knows what this failure means. His white, feline face closes up a little more and he murmurs:
“I am finished!”
To be continued.