A few images flicker within my mind about the possibilities of invisibility for a day; checking in on my ex to see how he’s faring (or not), lurking over the shoulder of a woman selecting the winning lottery numbers – of course, nudging her elbow so the balls drop and have to be redrawn, with my winning numbers. But today, I’m wearing my writer’s bonnet so my wish for a day of invisibility involves time travel.
I’d love to walk in two muses heels for a day in Paris, my morning on July 13, 1744 and my afternoon/evening on July 13, 1793.
The first person I’d shadow is Emilie du Châtelet. Scientists during the age of enlightenment, especially a beautiful, vivacious one, were equivalent to the rock stars of our time – and just as famous.
Mme.Châtelet was an inquisitive and demanding scholar of mathematics and science. She became famous for translating Newton’s book on the principals of mathematics into French, adding her own “Algebraic Commentary”.
One research site (credited below) summarizes her perfectly:
“Mme du Châtelet passed the greater part of the morning with her writings, and did not like to be disturbed. When she stopped work, however, she did not seem to be the same woman. The serious air gave place to gaiety and she gave herself up with the greatest enthusiasm to the delights of the society”. (Source:http://www.agnesscott.edu/lriddle/women/chatelet.htm)
She was also Voltaire’s lover.
The second part of my day would be spent with Charlotte Corday. Raised in a convent in Caen, she singlehandedly killed one of the most violent revolutionaries, Marat, with a knife in his bathtub. She is quoted as saying “I killed one man to save 100,000.” What a woman!