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“I can't—you know, I can't—you have locked the door.” “I’ve not—try it,” replied Blassemare, coolly. In a moment more Le Prun entered, trembling like a man in an ague, his face livid and covered with a cold sweat. “That, that accursed fiend, she has—the murderess—she attempted my life—upon my soul she did.” There was some blood upon his hand, and more upon his lace cravat. “What do you mean?” said Blassemare, growing very pale. “Why, why, you have not, great God, you have not hurt the wretched woman,” and he grasped him by the collar with a hand that trembled with mingled fury and horror. “It was she, I tell you—let me go— it was she—she that tried—by she had a knife at my throat–I could not help it—I'm ruined—help me, Blassemare—for God's sake, help me— what—what is to be done?” Blassemare gave him a look of contemptuous fury, turned from him, and entered the chamber. Le Prun stood like one stupified, stammering excuses and oaths, and trembling as if it were the day of judgment. Blassemare re-entered, paler than before, and said— “You cowardly, barbarous miscreant, you will answer for it here and hereafter.” “Blassemare, my friend—my dear friend—in the name of God, don't denounce me. You would not; no, you could not. I have been a good friend to you. For the love of God hel me, Blassemare—save me. You shall have half my fortune; I'll stick at no terms. I'll make you, by the richest man in Paris. You shall have what you like—everything, anything— only help me in this accursedextremity.” For a long time Blassemare met his abject and agonized entreaties with a stoical scorn; at last, however, he relented. The body was removed that night: and it is well known to the readers of old French trials, how wonderfully Providence supplied, by a chain of apparent accidents, an important witness in our friend Gabriel. We left him buried in the hay of the stable-loft. We must pursue his adventure to its conclusion.
As soon as he had a little recovered the heat which was nearly extinguished, he got up, and finding an old piece of drugget, he wrapped it about him in the fashion of a cloak; and having looked in vain for any window openin '' the street, he climbed, by the ai of the joists, to an aperture in the halfrotten roof, and passing through it, crept like a cat along, until he reached the spout, down which, at the risk of his neck, he climbed. He was now safe in the public street. Picking up a sharp stone, he scratched some marks, such as he could easily recognise again, upon the gateway. He then knocked at a barber's shop, nearly opposite, where he saw a light, and asked the name of the street, and his route to the Hotel de Secqville. The marquis had arrived before him; and his amazement at the strange attire of his retainer was changed to horror, when he learned the particulars of his adventure. Not a moment was lost by De Secqville in applying to the police, and wi an officer and a party of archers, he roceeded at once to the Hotel St. Maurice—for such was the name of the nearly ruinous building we have described. There they arrested Monsieur Le Prun, who was just emerging from the gate as they arrived, as also Blassemare, whom they surprised in his room. No definite sus'' beyond the conjectures of e Secqville, had as yet attached to either of these gentlemen; but some expressions which escaped Le Prun, upon his arrest, were of a character to excite the profoundest suspicions of his guilt. Blassemare instantly tendered his evidence, and in the course of it was forced to make disclosures very little creditable to himself. The old woman, Guertrude Peltier, who resided in the house, and had attended upon Lucille, was also examined, and a servant named St. Jean, a sort of groom, who had been a long time in Le Prun's service, also deposed to some important facts. This evidence, collected and reduced to a narrative form, was to the following effect:It seemed that, about twenty-four years before, Le Prun had privately married an actress of the Theatre –, named Emilie Guadin. They had lived together—not very happily—by reason, as was supposed, of her violent temper,
Her sister, Marie Guadin, resided with them. After about four years it began to be rumoured that Monsieur Le Prun was about to be married to the widow of an immensely rich merchant of Bourdeaux. The strict privacy and isolation in which his wife and her sister were compelled by him to live, prevented the rumour from reaching them, and the circumstance of his existing marriage had been kept so strict a secret, that it was not suspected by any but the immediate parties to the ceremony. Monsieur Le Prun, about this time, visited the country-seat where he had placed his wife and sister-in-law. He affected an unusual kindness towards the former; but he had not been there a week, when she became ill. A physician was called in, and appeared perplexed by the nature of her disease, which, notwithstanding his treatment, seemed to be rapidly gaining ground. As matters were in this state, one night Le Prun entered his wife's bed-room; her sister Marie was sitting at the further side of the bed, in the shadow of the curtains, which, as well as the unusual hour, prevented Le Prun's suspecting her presence. He looked stealthily round the room. His wife was sleeping, and with her face away from him, and a draught ordered by the physician was upon the table, waiting her awaking. From a small vial he dropped some fluid into this, and was about to replace it, when Marie, nerved with terror, glided swiftly to his side, snatched the vial from his hand, and cried, in a thrilling voice— “Emilie, awake! he is poisoning you!” The sleeping girl started up, and at the same moment the vial, which in her horror Marie had flung from her hand, fell beside her, on the pillow. Le Prun was first confounded and speechless—then furious. He broke the glass that contained the medicine, and pursuing the girl to the further end of the room, seemed on the point of wreaking his fury upon her. He restrained himself, however, and having demanded the vial repeatedly in vain, went to his own room. The next day the physician did not attend, and in the dead of night the house was entered by thieves, some valuables were stolen, and Mademoiselle Marie
Guadin was found murdered in her bed in the morning. The occurrence made a great eclat, and suspicions, from the taint of which he had never quite recovered, began to environ Monsieur Le Prun. His unhappy wife was now put under the severest restraint—from which, and, as was supposed, the partial effects of the poison, she became subject to temporary fits of insanity. By sheer terror, Le Prun extorted from her a written declaration, to the effect that she lived with him merely as his mistress, and that no marriage ceremony, or any contract of marriage, had ever been performed between them. It was about three months after these terrible occurrences that she gave birth to a male child. This child, it appeared, was removed after a few weeks from its mother, and placed in the care of a poor woman in the village of Charrebourg, where, under the name of Gabriel, he, as we know, lived unrecognised, and himself unsuspecting his origin. His mother had been a heartless, as she was a vicious and a miserable woman. Instead of the yearnings of maternal love, she regarded her innocent child merely as the offspring of that monster, whom she execrate and feared with a preternatural hate. If she looked upon him with any feeling more lively than that of indifference, it was with one of positive malice and antipathy. Among his other employments of a delicate kind, Blassemare had charge of all arrangements affecting this person, of whom, for every reason, Le Prun hated even to hear. He paid, therefore, whatever was demanded on this account, with the sole proviso that her name should never be mentioned. On her removal, about a year since, from the country-house where she had been for so long a scarcely-unwilling prisoner, to the vast and melancholy Hotel St. Maurice, which had lately fallen into the hands of M. Le Prun, an accident to the carriage obliged them to arrest their progress for an hour at the village of Charrebourg. She was brought into the park meanwhile, and there met with Gabriel, and subsequently, as the reader may recollect, with Lucille. Her she had armed with the hateful relic of her husband's uncompleted crime, conscious that its exhibition would sow between her and Le Prun suspicion, fear, and enmity enough to embitter their lives. She had at first intended declaring all the truth, but feared the explosion of Le Prun's fury, and doubted, too, whether the girl would believe her. The rest the reader knows. As there was no reason to doubt Blassemare's statement, and no actual suspicion attached to him, he was merely examined as a witness. Le Prun is, we need scarcely remind the student of old French criminal cases, a celebrated name in the annals of guilt. Suspicion, by a strange coincidence, fell upon the servant whom we have mentioned, and this man having been, according to the atrocious practice of the civil law, put to the torture, confessed his having, at the instigation of Le Prun, murdered the unfortunate Marie Guadin, so contriving as to make it appear that the house had been entered and plundered by thieves. A full confession, after condemnation, was extorted by the question, that dreadful ordeal, from Le Prun, who ultimately suffered the extreme penalty of the law, as every body knows, upon the Place de Greve. That portion of Le Prun's immense property which was not appropriated by the crown, went, of course, to Gabriel, the peasant boy of Charrebourg. He purchased an estate near it, and was ultimately ennobled. His grandson, the Count de St. M , distinguished himself in the Austrian service, and after the Restoration, obtained a dis
tinguished position in the court of Louis XVIII. The king remitted a large portion of the fine in favour of Julie and of Lucille. As, however, some grave suspicions were entertained by the advisers of his majesty both as to Lucille's avowed, and, as we know, real ignorance of the existence of Le Prun's first wife when she consented to marry him, and also as to her subsequent conduct in relation to De Secqville, the remission in her favour was coupled with a condition that she should take the veil. This was in effect a command; and Lucille entered a convent with a cheerful acquiescence in this condition which astonished all who knew the facts of her story. Julie, of course, on learning the pre£De Secqville's affections, and being relieved from the influence which had hitherto held her to her involuntary engagement, demanded her freedom, and De Secqville, as may be supposed, offered no vexatious resistance to her request. Julie, indeed, had never loved him, and consequently had little difficulty in forgiving Lucille her treason. Inspired by the example of her companion, she proved the sincerity of those professions which so few had believed in, by taking the veil on the same day with Lucille. The astounding and mysterious adventure which, under these melancholy circumstances, closed the hazardous romance' of Lucille's existence, would form in itself a story, too long, however, to be told in a single page.
LORD JOHN RUSSELL ON THE PAPAL PRETENSIONS.
LoRD JoHN RUssELL's letter on the Papal invasion of England lies before us. We have read it with all the attention to which such a document is entitled, but, it must be confessed, without being able to share in the feelings with which the nation has welcomedit, or with those in which, the noble lord instructs his right reverend correspondent, it was written. The spirit which has taken possession of minister and people alike, seems to us effervescing rather than stable. It is an “ignorant impatience” (if we may be allowed to give a new application to that remarkable expression) of Romanism, rather than an intelligent appreciation of its constitution and character. In such a spirit there is more of temper than resolve;—the promise of safety is not contained in it. The noble lord, prime minister of England, proclaims that “his alarm is not equal to his indignation.” This denotes a state of mind in which we cannot sympathise; nor can we congratulate either the premier or the country on the predominance of his angry emotions. If he felt deeply for the nation, and thoroughly understood the genius of Rome, we firmly believe he would be less angry than alarmed, and we have no hesitation to avow that we shall continue to have fear of the noble lord, until we see proof that he has become apprehensive for his country. Much has been said upon the encouragement which may have stimulated the Pope to an aggression which is now so passionately inveighed against. Much has been said, and idly said, respecting the parties upon whom the guilt of such encouragement should be charged. It is of £ moment how this guilt may be apportioned—what amount of it shall be imputed to the followers of Sir Robert eel; how much to the ultra-Tractarians; and how much to those who, for want ofmanlier and more consistent representatives of the name, are miscalled Whigs. We hate idle recrimination; it is the vice and the disgrace of conquered captives making sport for their oppressors. Evil as the days are, England is not fallen so low as this dishonour. She can yet hold her head high; can assert her rights, and vindicate her reputation. She can turn away from the squabbles of mortified partisans, and require of those whom she sets in authority to do the momentous duty which the crisis assigns to them. The duty which Lord John Russell has chosen for himself is that of being angry at the insult which has been hazarded against the crown and dignity of his Sovereign. He would be contented to leave large masses of her Majesty's subjects exposed to the influence of Papal teaching, provided, only, that the emissaries of the Pope would labour in their vocation without making a parade of it. “I not only,” writes the noble lord, and with manifest satisfaction, “promoted to the utmost of my power the claims of the Roman Catholics to all civil rights; but I thought it right, and even desirable, that the ecclesiastical system of the Roman Catholics should be the means of giving instruction to the numerous Irish immigrants in London and elsewhere, who without such help would have been left in Heathen ignorance. This,” he continues, “might have been done, however, without any such innovation as that which we have now seen.” It certainly might; and it indicates some confusion and rashness in the Papal councils, or else gives portentous notice of a great increase in the Papal power, that the noble lord's dream of security and repose should have been broken in upon so rudely. But we would ask, now that the disturbance has been given, and, we would add, the menace uttered, will the noble lord persist in his abandonment of millions of the queen's subjects to the perils of being trained up at the mercy of that ecclesiastical system which has roused up into such a flame his indignant patriotism? We will give the |'' and his supporters the benefit of that plea which sophists of the Church of Rome have contrived as an illusory mitigation of their doctrines of intolerance. Let the ministers and their adherents plead “invincible ignorance” as their excuse for past transgression and neglect. , Let them plead that they believed the principles in which Roman Catholic ecclesiastics were pledged to train up the people confided to their charge, were principles bearing the character, as well as the name, of religion. That plea is no longer available. Romanism has now openly avowed itself. The principles in which Roman Catholic priests are solemnly sworn to educate their people are not those which are to be learned in the written Word of God, but in the canons and the decrees of Popes and Councils. . If the noble lord hold himself free from the duty of ascertaining what these principles are, ignorance will no longer be an excuse for him. • But why do we say “no longer?” Because, at the Synod of Thurles, the authorities in the Church of Rome in Ireland solemnly declared the nature of their mission, swearing that they receive, without any doubt, all that has been delivered, defined, and declared in the sacred canons and General Councils; that, without so believing, no man can be saved; and that, to the utmost of their power, they will inculcate the belief of this Catholic saying faith on all over whom their influence can be extended. Here is ample notice given to the nation what the Church of Rome purposes to do. If Her Majesty's ministers £ in remaining ignorant of what these purposes are, their infatuation is not ess fatal, or more creditable, than that of the babe, or the brute, who closes its eyes, and thinks danger escaped by darkness, or than the embarrassed merchant, who, rather than look his liabilities in the face, suffers insolvency to come upon him unawares. Ignorance can never again be urged in extenuation of a perseverance in error on the part of Her Majesty's ministers, which would now be unpardonable delinquency. We would not, however, stimulate them, had we the power, into any act that might savour of precipitation. We would no more urge them to act blindly against Romanism, than we would excuse the voluntary blindness in which they toiled most basely as its slaves. Let them become instructed, and let them instruct the nation. They know the engagements by which Cardinal Wiseman and his co-partners have bound ' to do the Pope's work. They know the engagements which the Roman Catholic priests throughout the British empire have contracted to their own Church, and to Her Majesty's subjects. If these engagements are found to be compatible with the allegiance of British subjects, with the duties of Christian men, the public will rejoice in feeling, with the noble lord, that there is less to alarm than to irritate in the Papal aggression. If, on the contrary, it appear, that there are within the British realms six thousand educated men solemnly pledged to infuse into the hearts of those whom they can influence, intolerance, perfidy, and treason, the noble lord will hardly persist in thinking it desirable to betray even Irish immigrants, by consigning them to such teachers for their religious instruction.