The Life of La Chatte | Teen Ink

The Life of La Chatte

October 4, 2022
By agershon-palma2024 BRONZE, Atlanta, Georgia
agershon-palma2024 BRONZE, Atlanta, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“I have a proposition for you. Work for us, and you live. Decline, and you will be tortured and your comrades will be killed,” The man sitting across from Mathilde Carré said. The two were sitting in the Hotel Edouard VII, a five-star hotel on the exclusive Avenue de l’Opera, discussing this matter over an extravagant meal. Carré thought about this proposition for many minutes. After all she had been through with her divorce, joining the army as a nurse, and spying for the French, she decided this would be a good option for her. “I will work for you,” She said.  

Walking down the street, she realized that her life had now been changed forever. She was now a double agent, working for the Germans and the French as a spy, and had found a new lover in Hugo Bleicher. She did not feel good about her decision to turn on her comrades or her lover. She felt like a coward.

Carré immediately got to work, and within days, she assisted in rounding up members of the Interallié. As she was leading the man who was previously her captor to the meeting places of men and women who had been her allies and comrades just days before, she felt a pang of nervousness in her gut. “Tu ne devrais pas faire ça,” It told her. She felt she could not show fear to her new superior, so she suppressed those feelings and with a stone-cold face, led Bleicher to a house where an important exchange of information was occurring. Carré’s mind went blank and she only heard the loud sound of a heavy fist pounding at a door and “Gestapo, open up!” as she quickly fled the scene so she would not be caught. 

Before Carré had become a double agent, she was known to her comrades as La Chatte, for her cool-headedness and her ability to inspire confidence in her fellow spies. As the war progressed, she felt less and less like La Chatte and more like a traitor. As she was one of the only members of the Interrallié who was not captured yet, her superior in spying for the French, Pierre de Vomécourt, asked her to procure some forged identity documents. Carré unsuspectingly brought him the documents complete with authentic German stamps. On top of that, she even brought him a photograph and asked him to identify the person in the photo. He told her that the person in the photo was a member of the SOE. “I had my suspicions about you, Mathilde. Today was the day you proved them correct. You are working for the Germans, n'es-tu pas?” He asked her. La Chatte was in shock. She sank to the floor, breathless. “Oui, c’est vrai. I am working with the Germans. Je suis une personne terrible et je mérite la punition que tu penses me convenir.” She blubbered. De Vomécourt looked at her sympathetically. “I will not punish you, Mathilde. Instead, work for the Interrallié once more and I will grant you forgiveness.” 

Now, working as a triple agent, Carré walked home with that same feeling in her gut as the first time she betrayed a powerful force. "Ce n'est pas une bonne idée. Tu devrais simplement arrêter.” The voices in her head bugged her endlessly. Was this even worth it? She asked herself. 

“I need you to get me to England,” She demanded of Bleicher. “De Vomécourt is going there for an important meeting and my presence is requested to go along with him.” Bleicher stared at her blankly and grunted. He walked toward the phone. “Alright. Now leave, I will be here for the next while trying to get you to England.” She politely nodded and scurried off. 

After hours of convincing his superiors, Bleicher was able to get Carré and De Vomécourt out of the country safely. “Get some valuable information while you’re there.” Which was the last thing he said to her before she left. On the trip there, Carré thought about her time as a member of the Interrallié. What led her there. Her husband, whom she had divorced. Watching France fall to the Germans. Being a nurse in the midst of it all. Then meeting the man who would get her this job in spying, Roman Czerniawski, the man who made her life change forever. He ran the Franco-Polish Interrallié sector that she worked for. She let these thoughts simmer as she watched the gentle waves of the English Channel.

Being dumped on an isolated beach for hours was not exactly how La Chatte expected her visit to London to begin. British intelligence had failed twice already at finding the two agents but eventually, they were picked up and brought to London. When she arrived, she was interrogated by British intelligence. She had not even stepped foot in the room when she started to confess. “I am working as a double agent for the Germans. I surrendered under Bleicher’s interrogations. Je suis très très désolée.” She managed to choke out between heavy sobs. The British intelligence looked at her with a look of contempt and scoffed. “You are under arrest.” They told her. Carré complied and spent the rest of World War Two in a British prison cell. She heard former fellow operatives gossiping about her. “Mathilde treats espionage as a children’s game. She does not take it as seriously as the rest of us do.” Carré knew this was true. She had performed betrayal after betrayal after betrayal. She did not mind at all how her story came to an end. She had had her fun with her life.

World War II was finally over. Carré prepared for her trial in 1949. She got dressed in the clothes they provided her with, put on makeup, and fussed over her hair in the mirror. Even through the makeup, she could still tell that she looked guilty. As she walked into the courtroom, she could feel the eyes glaring at her. After what felt like an eternity of four long days, she was sentenced to death. She had entered the courtroom shaken, but after hearing her sentence, she was truly jarred. She felt extremely dejected as she was led back to her cell. Although her luck had not run out. She was released from jail in 1954 and she vowed to resume her life but start anew. It was time to say goodbye to La Chatte.

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