Prophets without honour
The life of Madame Lenormand remains shrouded in mystery and little is known of her origins, or even of her methods of prediction. It is certain that, like many modern fortune tellers – and many charlatans – she used the Tarot cards to tell the future.
“One night, at the height of the terror, three men wrapped in dark cloaks came to Madame Lenormand’s house. They demanded to know their fortunes, but refused to give their names. Terrified, Madame knew that she must do as they asked. For she had recognized them, and knew that one word from any of them would be enough to send her to the guillotine immediately. She spread out her cards.
“Jean-Paul Marat’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Marat face grew dark as Madame told him that he would die within the year-and at the hand of a woman. The steps of Charlotte Corday, hastening to his door with a concealed knife, already echoed in Madame’s brain. The bath in which he lay all day to find relief from his skin disease was to be his grave.
“To the second man, Madame at first spoke of triumph. He was to rise to the highest position in the state very soon, but his hour of glory would be brief. Within two years, the head of Antoine Saint-Just http://www.saint-just.net/ would fall under the guillotine.
“The third man took his place. Madame Lenormand shuddered as she looked into his cold, green eyes. In a faltering voice she told of a knock on the door in the night; of a pistol shot, a shattered face, hours of agony. And at last, relief through death under the falling blade. Maximilien Robespierre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilien_Robespierre who had sent too many to their deaths without a single regret, turned pale as he learned his own fate.
“Within three days she was arrested and brought before the revolutionary tribunal. Saint-Just himself was the prosecutor, Marat and Robespierre sat beside him. The trial was a foregone conclusion. Madame Lenormand was sentenced to the guillotine. For three years she lay in prison. During her incarceration, Marat, Saint-Just and Robespierre, all died exactly as she had predicted.
“With the slackening of the Terror after Robespierre’s death. many prisoners were released. Among them was Madame Lenormand.”
The Night Owl, 23 rd January, 1998.