A Female Czolgosz
In view of the late President McKinley’s
likeness to Napoleon, so much commented on in his later years, it
is an odd fact that Czolgosz’s Judas-like method of killing the
man who held out to him the hand of friendship has a distinct parallel
in an attempt on the life of the great Bonaparte, only in this instance
the assassin was a beautiful woman, and her request was a kiss,
not a handshake. The Emperor was riding through Abbeville one July
day in the year 1804, accompanied by a small bodyguard, when a lovely
young widow stepped forward in his path, her eyes brimming with
tears, her white hands, covered with jewels, held out in supplication.
Might she beg one kiss, one embrace, from the greatest man in the
world, and die happy?
Her eyelashes (says the chronicle)
were very long, her lips pathetic with pleading. She was very charming.
The mightiest tyrant in the world saw these things and—doubtless
appreciated the citizen’s patriotism. He moved to comply, graciously.
But General Duroc flung himself forward, seizing the woman, and
dragging her to the ground. “My God!” he said. “Look at her wrist!”
And, sure enough, there lay a poisoned stiletto, firmly tucked in
a bracelet on the right wrist, and clutched by those soft, white
fingers ready for deadly use. She died on the rack, unrepentant
and incognito, calling herself “Charlotte Encore” to the last. Her
identity remained always a mystery.