'DAS FRAULEIN VON SCUDERI'. E. T. A. Hoffmann's Das Frdulein von Scuderi1 has been admired very frequently but seldom interpreted and examined in any. Band (von 8) (German) Ludwig Thoma, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Adolph De Gouden Vaas (Dutch) E. T. A. Hoffmann 7 downloads · Das fräulein von Scuderi. Finnish. DAS FRAULEIN VON SCUDERI. THE MOST CASUAL SURVEY of the opening pages of any E. T. A.. Hoffmann story would suffice to identify a major theme and .
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Magdaleine de Scudéri, so famous for her charming poetical and other writings, lived in a small mansion in the Rue St. Honoré, by favour of Louis the XIVth and. Das Fräulein von Scuderi. jinzihao.infonn. June , It is a rather tall tale from the reign of Louis XIV definitely more gothic than realistic. The main. Who isn't familiar with the fascinating events surrounding E.T.A. Hoffmann's famous Mademoiselle de Scuderi? The historical incidents portrayed in the novella.
It was a remarkable feature of this business that, notwithstanding all search and investigation in every quarter where there seemed to be any chance of dealing in jewels going on, not a trace of even the smallest of the plundered precious stones ever came to light. The only thing which was of a certain degree of use was to go about armed to the teeth, and have a light carried before you; and yet there were cases in which the servant who carried the light had his attention occupied by having stones thrown at him, whilst at that very instant his master was being robbed and murdered. No; by Saint Dionys! Just as if this robber-gang were in intercourse with spirits, they always knew perfectly well when anything of this kind was going on. As he was doing so, her father's consciousness came back; the rattle in his throat ceased and, looking first on her and then on Olivier with most expressive glances, he took her hand and placed it in Olivier's, pressing them both together. At length the door opened, Desgrais came in, and after him Olivier Brusson, without irons, and respectably dressed. It was in vain that Argenson, the Minister of Police, arrested every individual, in all Paris, who seemed to be touched by the very faintest suspicion; in vain La Regnie raged, striving to compel confession; in vain were guards and patrols reinforced.
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View Metrics. Email alerts New issue alert. Advance article alerts. Article activity alert. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. Those who were murdered - and they were found nearly every morning lying in the streets or in houses - had all the selfsame mortal wound - a dagger-thrust, right through the heart, which the surgeons said must have been delivered with such swiftness and certainty that the victim would have fallen dead without the power of uttering a sound.
Now who, in all the luxurious Court of Louis Quatorze, was there who was not implicated in some secret love-affair and, consequently, often gliding about the streets late at night with valuable presents in his pockets? Just as if this robber-gang were in intercourse with spirits, they always knew perfectly well when anything of this kind was going on.
Often the fortunate lover wouldn't reach the house where his lady was expecting him; often he would fall at her threshold, at her very door, where, to her horror, she would discover his bleeding body lying. It was in vain that Argenson, the Minister of Police, arrested every individual, in all Paris, who seemed to be touched by the very faintest suspicion; in vain La Regnie raged, striving to compel confession; in vain were guards and patrols reinforced.
Not a trace of the perpetrators of those outrages was to be discovered. The only thing which was of a certain degree of use was to go about armed to the teeth, and have a light carried before you; and yet there were cases in which the servant who carried the light had his attention occupied by having stones thrown at him, whilst at that very instant his master was being robbed and murdered.
It was a remarkable feature of this business that, notwithstanding all search and investigation in every quarter where there seemed to be any chance of dealing in jewels going on, not a trace of even the smallest of the plundered precious stones ever came to light.
Desgrais foamed in fury that even his acumen and skill were powerless to prevent the escape of those scoundrels.
Whatever part of the town he happened to be in was let alone for the time, whilst in some other quarter robbery and murder were lying in wait for their rich prey. Desgrais hit upon the clever idea of setting several facsimiles of himself on foot - various Desgrais, exactly alike in gait, speech, figure, face, etc.
Meanwhile, at the risk of his life, he watched alone in the most secret hiding-places, and followed, at a distance, this or the other person who seemed, by the looks of him, to be likely to have jewels about him. But those whom he was watching were unharmed, so that this artifice of his was as well known to the culprits as everything else seemed to be.
Desgrais was in utter despair. Have you come upon the clue? There came a figure close by me - not seeing me - with uncertain steps, always looking behind him.
By the moonlight I recognised the Marquis de la Fare. I expected that he would be passing. I knew where he was gliding to. Scarcely had he got ten or twelve paces beyond me when, out of the ground apparently, springs a figure, dashes the Marquis to the ground, falls down upon him. Losing my self-control at this occurrence, which seemed to be likely to deliver the murderer into my hands, I cried out aloud, and meant to spring from my hiding-place with a great bound and seize hold of him.
But I tripped up on my cloak and fell down. I saw the fellow flee away as if on the wings of the wind. I picked myself up, and made off after him as fast as I could. As I ran, I sounded my horn. Out of the distance the whistles of my men answered me.
Things grew lively - clatter of arms, tramp of horses on all sides. All the time I saw the man before me in the bright moonlight, turning off right - left - to get away from me. There his strength seemed to begin to fail. I gathered mine up. He was not more than fifteen paces ahead of me. Are you out of your senses? I stood staring at the wall, while several of my men came up out of breath, and with them the Marquis de la Fare who had picked himself up , with his drawn sword in his hand.
We lighted torches, we examined the wall all over. There was not the trace of a door, a window, any opening. It is the strong stone wall of a courtyard, belonging to a house in which people are living - against whom there is not the slightest suspicion. I have looked into the whole thing again this morning in broad daylight. It must be the very devil himself who is at work befooling us in the matter. This story got bruited abroad through Paris, where all heads were full of the sorceries, callings up of spirits and pacts with the devil indulged in by La Voisin, Le Vigoureux, and the wicked priest Le Sage; and as it lies in our eternal nature that the bent towards the supernatural and the marvellous overpasses all reason, people soon positively believed what Desgrais had only said in his impatience - that the very devil himself must protect the rascals, and that they had sold their souls to him.
We can readily understand that Desgrais' story soon received many absurd embellishments. It was printed, and hawked about the town, with a woodcut at the top representing a horrible figure of the devil sinking into the ground before the terrified Desgrais.
Quite enough to frighten the people, and so terrify Desgrais' men that they lost all courage, and went about the streets behung with amulets, and sprinkled with holy water. Seeing that the Chambre Ardente was unsuccessful, Argenson applied to the King to constitute - with special reference to this novel description of crime a tribunal armed with greater powers for tracking and punishing offenders.
The King, thinking he had already given too ample powers to the Chambre Ardente, and shocked at the horrors of the numberless executions carried out by the bloodthirsty La Regnie, refused. In the apartments of Madame de Maintenon -- where the King was in the habit of spending much of his time in the afternoons -- and also, very often, would be at work with his Ministers till late at night -- a poetical petition was laid before him, on the part of the "Endangered Lovers," who complained that when "galanterie" rendered it incumbent on them to be the bearers of some valuable present to the ladies of their hearts, they had always to do it at the risk of their lives.
They said that, of course, it was honour and delight to pour out their blood for the lady of their heart in knightly encounter, but that the treacherous attack of the assassin, against which it was impossible to guard, was quite a different matter. They expressed their hope that Louis, the bright pole-star of love and gallantry, might deign - arising end staining in fullest splendour - to dispel the darkness of night, and thus reveal the black mysteries hidden thereby; that the God-like hero, who had hurled his foes to the dust, would now once more wave his flashing falchion and, as did Hercules in the case of the Laernean Hydra, and Theseus in that of the Minotaur, vanquish the threatening monster who was consuming all the delights of love, and darkening all joy into deep sorrow and inconsolable mourning.
Serious as the subject was, this poem was not deficient in most wittily-turned phrases, particularly where it described the state of watchful anxiety in which lovers had to glide to their mistresses, and how this mental strain necessarily destroyed all the delights of love, and nipped all adventures of "galanterie" in the very bud. And, as it wound up with a high-flown panegyric of Louis XIV, the King could not but read it with visible satisfaction.
When he had perused it, he turned to Madame de Maintenon - without taking his eyes from it - read it again - aloud this time - and then asked, with a pleased smile, what she thought of the petition of the "Endangered Lovers. Madame de Maintenon, faithful to her serious turn, and ever wearing the garb of a certain piousness, answered that secret and forbidden practices did not deserve much in the form of protection, but that the criminals probably did require special laws for their punishment.
He went straight to her and the pleased smile which had at first been playing about his mouth and cheeks - but had disappeared - resumed the ascendency again. Standing close before her, with his face unwrinkling itself, he said -. But, Mademoiselle, what do you think of this poetical petition? The King, surprised, and struck with admiration at the chivalrous spirit of those few words - which completely took the wind out of the sails of the poem, with all its lengthy tirades - cried, with flashing eyes: No blind laws, touching the innocent and the guilty alike, shall shelter cowardice.
Argenson and La Regnie must do their best. Both she and Baptiste who stood in the corner as white as a sheet, kneading his cap in his hand from agitation and anxiety implored her, in the name of all the saints, to take the greatest precautions in opening it.
Weighing and examining the unopened mystery in her hand, she said with a smile, "You are a couple of bogies! The wicked scoundrels outside who, as you say yourselves, spy out all that goes on in every house know, no doubt, quite as well as you and I do, that I am not rich, and that there are no treasures in this house worth committing a murder for.
Is my life in danger, do you think? Who could have any interest in the death of an old woman of seventy-three, who never persecuted any evildoers except those in her own novels; who writes mediocre poetry, incapable of exciting anyone's envy; who has nothing to leave behind her but the belongings of an old maid who sometimes goes to Court, and two or three dozen handsomely-bound books with gilt edges. Great was her surprise to see that it contained a pair of bracelets, and a necklace richly set in jewels.
When she had read what was written in the note, it fell from her trembling hands; she raised an appealing look to heaven, and then sank down half fainting in her chair. The deep humiliation! Has it been reserved for me to undergo this in my old age?
Have I ever been frivolous, like some of the foolish young creatures; are words, spoken half in jest, to be found capable of such a terrible interpretation? Am I, who have been faithful to all that is pure and good from my childhood, to be made virtually an accomplice in the crimes of this terrible confederation. As a proof of our gratitude, be pleased kindly to accept this set of ornaments. It is the most valuable that we have been enabled to lay hands on for many a day.
Although far more beautiful and precious jewels should adorn you, yet we pray you not to deprive us of your future protection and remembrance. The sun was shining brightly through the window curtains of crimson silk, and consequently the brilliants, which were lying on the table beside the open casket, were flashing a rosy radiance.
She repaired thither at the hour when she knew Madame de Maintenon would be alone, taking the casket and jewels with her. Madame de Maintenon might well wonder to see this dear old lady who was always kindness, sweetness and amiability personified , pale, distressed, upset, coming in with uncertain steps.
At last, when she could find words, she told her what a deep, irremediable insult and outrage the thoughtless speech which she had made in reply to the King had brought upon her. She took the bracelets and necklace to the window, letting the sunlight play on the jewels, and holding the beautiful goldsmith's work close to her eyes so as to see with what wonderful skill each little link of the chains was formed.
Short rather than tall, but broad-shouldered and of strong and muscular build, Cardillac, now over fifty, had still the strength and activity of a youth. To this vigour, which was to be called unusual, testified also his thick, curling, reddish hair and his massive, shining face. Had he not been known to be the most upright and honourable of men, unselfish, open, without reserve, always ready to help, his altogether peculiar glance out of his grimly sparkling eyes might have brought him under suspicion of being secretly ill-tempered and wicked.
In his art he was the most skilful worker, not only in Paris, but probably in the world at that time. Intimately acquainted with every kind of precious stones, versed in all their special peculiarities, he could so handle and treat them that ornaments which at a first glance promised to be poor and insignificant, came from his workshop brilliant and splendid.
He accepted every commission with burning eagerness, and charged prices so moderate as to seem out of all proportion to the work. And the work left him no rest. Day and night he was to be heard hammering in his shop; and often, when a job was nearly finished, he would suddenly be dissatisfied with the form - would have doubts whether some of the settings were delicate enough; some little link would not be quite to his mind - in fine, the whole affair would be thrown into the melting-pot, and begun all over again.
But then, it was hardly possible to get the finished work out of his hands. He would put the customer off from one week to another by a thousand excuses - even from month to month. He might be offered twice the price he had agreed upon, but it was useless; he would take no more; and when, ultimately, he was obliged to yield to the customer's remonstrances, and deliver the work, he could not conceal the vexation - nay, the rage - which seethed within him.
Nothing of the kind! Just see what I shall make of them; and if a handful of Louis are no object to you, I will put two or three others along with them which will shine in your eyes like the sun himself! Then he would run home as fast as he could to his workshop, where he would set to work hammering away; and in eight days' time there would be a masterpiece ready. But as soon as the customer arrived, glad to pay the moderate price demanded and take away his prize, Cardillac would become morose, ill-tempered, rude and insolent.
Come back in a fortnight. Then he would laugh like a fiend, out of the window, when he saw the poor wretch go limping out, holding his handkerchief to his bleeding nose. It was not easy to explain either why, when Cardillac had undertaken a commission with alacrity and enthusiasm, he would sometimes suddenly implore the customer, with every sign of the deepest emotion - with the most moving adjurations, even with sobs and tears - not to ask him to go on with it.
Many persons, amongst those most highly considered by the King and nation, had in vain offered large sums for the smallest specimen of Cardillac's work. He threw himself at the King's feet, and begged him, of his mercy, not to command him to work for him; and he declined all orders of Madame de Maintenon's; once, when she wished him to make a little ring, with emblems of the arts on it, which she wanted to give to Racine, he refused with expressions of abhorrence and terror.
Yet he does seem to have been rather less obstinate of late, for I hear he is working more than ever, and allows his customers to take away their jewellery at once, though he does so with deep annoyance, and turns away his face when he hands them over. The Marquise agreed to this; he was sent for, and he came into the room in a very brief space, almost as if he had been on the way when sent for.
Madame de Maintenon impetuously asked him if the jewelled ornaments - to which she pointed as they lay sparkling on the dark-green cover of the table - were of his workmanship.
Cardillac scarcely glanced at them but, fixedly staring in her face, he hastily packed the necklace and bracelets into their case, and shoved them away with some violence. Of course, I made them. Merely for the sake of the beauty of the work, I collected some of my finest stones together, and worked for the enjoyment of so doing, more carefully and diligently than usual.
Those ornaments disappeared from my workshop a short time since, in an incomprehensible manner.
Cardillac listened in silence, with downcast eyes, merely from time to time uttering a scarcely audible "Hm! Ho, ho! When she had ended, he appeared to be struggling with strange thoughts which had come to him during her story, and seemed unable to come to any decision satisfactory to himself.
He rubbed his brow, sighed, passed his hand over his eyes - perhaps to keep back tears. Fate destined this casket for you; and I now feel, for the first time, that I was thinking of you when I was at work upon it - nay, was making it expressly for you. Do not disdain to accept this work, and to wear it; it is the best I have done for a very long time.
Come, come! If I were as beautiful and as rich as the Marquise de Fontange, I should certainly not let them out of my hands. But what have my withered arms, and my wrinkled neck, to do with all that splendour? Cardillac had risen, and said with wild looks, like a man beside himself, still holding the casket out towards her, "Do me the kindness to take it, Mademoiselle!
You have no notion how profound a reverence I bear in my heart for your virtues and your high deserts. Do but accept my little offering, as an attempt, on my part, to prove to you the warmth of my regard. You are like some bashful young thing who would gladly reach out for forbidden fruit, if she could gather it without hands or fingers. But the Marquise, in particularly happy temper, laughed aloud, saying, "What is it, Mademoiselle?
Madame de Maintenon offered to twine the bridal wreath herself, and give her a few hints as to the duties of a housewife, a subject on which such a poor inexperienced little chit could not be expected to know very much. They have, in any event, been in the hands of one of those diabolical men, who rob and slay with the audacity of the evil one himself and are very probably in league with him. I shudder at the thought of the blood which seems to cling to those glittering stones - even Cardillac's behaviour had something about it which struck me as singularly wild and strange.
But at all events, I distinctly feel that I never can wear those jewels ". The invention of those delightful glass coaches was then so recent that the people came together in crowds whenever one of them made its appearance in the streets.
Consequently a gaping crowd gathered about the Duchesse's carriage on the Pont Neuf, so that the horses could hardly make their way along. As if urged by the foul fiend, he kept lashing his horses till, scattering the foam from their nostrils, they kicked, plunged and reared, finally thundering over the bridge at a rapid trot.
It was he who brought you the jewels on that awful night. She opened it, and read as follows:. Your welfare, your very life - depend on your doing this.
If you do not comply before the day after tomorrow, I will force my way into your house, and kill myself before your eyes. If he had been able to see me and speak to me on that night, who knows what strange events, what dark concatenation of circumstances, would have been made known to me, of which, at present, I seek, in my soul, the very faintest inkling in vain. But, be the matter as it may, that which I am enjoined in this letter to do, I certainly shall do, were it only to be rid of those fatal jewels, which seem to me as if they must be some diabolical talisman of the Prince of Darkness's very own.
Cardillac is not very likely to let them out of his hands again, if once he gets hold of them. She intended to take them to him next day; but it seemed as if all the beaux esprits of Paris had entered into a league to assail and besiege her with verses, dramas and anecdotes.
Scarce had La Chapelle finished reading the scenes of a tragedy, and declared that he considered he had now vanquished Racine, when the latter himself came in, and discomfited him with the pathetic speech of one of his kings, until Boileau sent some of his fireballs soaring up into the dark sky of the tragedies, by way of changing the subject from that eternal one of the colonnade of the Louvre, to which the architectural Dr.
Perrault was shackling him. But the young man was always present to her mind, and a species of dim remembrance seemed to be trying to arise in the depths of her being that she had, somehow and at some time, seen that face and those features before.
Troubled dreams disturbed her broken slumbers. It seemed to her that she had acted thoughtlessly, and was to blame for her delay in grasping the hands which the unfortunate man was holding out to her for help.
She felt, in fact, as if it had depended on her to prevent some atrocious crime. As soon as it was fairly light, she had herself dressed and set off to the goldsmith's with the jewels in her hand. Amid the wild distracted uproar, voices were heard crying, "Tear him in pieces!
Drag him limb from limb, the accursed murderer! The door flew open, and a man loaded with irons was brought out, and marched off amid the most frightful imprecations of the raging populace. Desgrais was there, and at his feet a young girl, beautiful as the day, half-dressed, with her hair dishevelled and wild inconsolable despair in her face, clinging to his knees, and crying in tones of the bitterest and profoundest anguish, "He is innocent!
He is innocent! Desgrais and his men tried in vain to shake her off and raise her from the ground, till at length a rough, powerful fellow, gripping her arms with his strong hands, dragged her away from Desgrais by sheer force. Stumbling awkwardly, he let the girl go, and she went rolling down the stone steps, and lay like one dead on the pavement.
What is going forward here? The crowd made way for her deferentially; and when she saw that one or two compassionate women had lifted the girl up, laid her on the steps, and were rubbing her brow with strong waters, she went up to Desgrais, and angrily repeated her question.
His journeyman, Olivier, is the murderer, and has just been taken to prison. The wretched culprit was her sweetheart, and now she is crying and howling, and screaming over and over again that Olivier is innocent - quite innocent; but she knows all about this crime, and I must have her taken to prison too. The girl was now beginning to revive, and breathe again faintly, though still incapable of speech or motion.
There she lay with closed eyes, and people did not know what to do, whether to take her indoors, or leave her where she was a little longer till she recovered. She felt a horror of Desgrais and his men.
Presently heavy footsteps came downstairs, those of the men bearing Cardillac's body. What you do next is up to you, Desgrais. A murmur of approval ran through the crowd. The women raised the girl; everyone crowded up; a hundred hands were proffered to help, and she was borne lightly to the carriage, whilst from every lip broke blessings on the kind lady who had saved her from arrest and criminal trial.
Madelon lay for many hours in a deep swoon, but at length the efforts of Seron - then the most celebrated physician in Paris - were successful in restoring her. She had been awakened at midnight by a soft knocking at her door, and had recognised the voice of Olivier, imploring her to get up at once, as her father lay dying. She sprang up, terrified, and opened the door.
Olivier, pale, strained and bathed in perspiration, led the way, with tottering steps, to the workshop; she followed. There was her father lying with his eyes glazed, and the death-rattle in his throat. She threw herself upon him, weeping wildly, and then observed that his shirt was covered with blood. Olivier gently lifted her away, and busied himself in bathing a wound on her father's left breast with balsam, and bandaging it. As he was doing so, her father's consciousness came back; the rattle in his throat ceased and, looking first on her and then on Olivier with most expressive glances, he took her hand and placed it in Olivier's, pressing them both together.
The pair of them were kneeling beside her father's bed when he raised himself with a piercing cry, but immediately fell back again, and with a deep sigh departed this life. On this they both wept and lamented. Olivier told her how her father had been murdered in his presence during an expedition on which he had accompanied him that night by his order, and how he had with the utmost difficulty carried him home, not supposing him to be mortally wounded. As soon as it was day, the people of the house - who had heard the sounds of their footsteps and of the weeping and lamenting during the night - came up, and found them still kneeling, inconsolable by the goldsmith's body.
Madelon added the most touching account of Olivier's virtues, goodness, piety and sincerity, telling how he had honoured his master as if he had been his own father, and how the latter returned his affection in the fullest measure, choosing him for his son-in-law in spite of his poverty, because his skill and fidelity were equal to the nobility of his heart. All this Madelon saw out of the fulness of her love, and added that if Olivier had thrust a dagger into her father's heart before her very eyes, she would rather have thought it a delusion of Satan's than have believed Olivier capable of such a terrible crime.
The people of the house and the neighbours all spoke of Olivier as the very model of good, steady, exemplary behaviour. No one knew anything whatever against him, and yet, when the crime was alluded to, every one shrugged his shoulders, and thought there was something incomprehensible about it. This agreed with Madelon's statement. She specially inquired if there had ever been any quarrel between Olivier and the father, whether Olivier was altogether exempt from that propensity to hastiness which often attacks the best tempered people like a blind madness, and leads them to commit deeds which seem to exclude all freewill; but the more enthusiastically Madelon spoke of the peaceful home-life which the three had led together, united in the most sincere affection, the more did every vestige of suspicion against Olivier disappear from her mind.
Poor though skilful, he succeeds in gaining the good will of the most renowned of masters; he loves the daughter - his master favours his love. Happiness, good fortune for the rest of his life are laid open before him. Supposing, then, that - God knows on what impulse - in an outburst of anger, he should have made this murderous attack on his master, what diabolical hypocrisy it required to behave as he had done after the deed! It seemed to her most advisable, before perhaps appealing to the King in person, to go to the President La Regnie, point out for his consideration all the circumstances which made for Olivier's innocence, and so, perhaps, kindle in his mind a conviction favourable to the accused, which might communicate itself beneficially to the judges.
La Regnie received her with all the consideration which was the due of a lady of her worth, held in high esteem by His Majesty himself. He listened in silence to all she had to say concerning Olivier's circumstances, relationships and character; and also concerning the crime itself. A delicate, almost malignant, smile, however, was all the token he gave that her adjurations, her reminders accompanied by plentiful tears that a judge ought to be, not the enemy of the accused, but ready to listen, also, to whatever spoke in his favour, were not falling upon deaf ears.
But it is otherwise with the Judge, who is accustomed to tear off the mask from vile and unblushing hypocrisy and deception. It is, of course, not incumbent on me to disclose the course of a criminal trial to everyone who chooses to inquire.
I do my duty, Mademoiselle! The world's opinion troubles me not at all. Evildoers should tremble before the Chambre Ardente, which knows no punishments save blood and fire. But by you, Mademoiselle, I would not be looked upon as a monster of severity and barbarism; therefore, permit me briefly to present to you the evidence of this young criminal's guilt.
Heaven be thanked that vengeance has fallen upon him. With your acute intelligence, you will then disown your kindly and generous feelings, which do honour to you, but in me would be out of place. In Olivier's room there is found, amongst other things, a dagger covered with fresh blood which exactly fits into the wound.
Olivier says, 'Cardillac was attacked in the street before my eyes' 'Was the intention to rob him? The street door of the house fastens with a heavy lock, which makes a piercing noise in opening and closing, also the door itself creaks and groans on its hinges, so that, as experiments have proved, the noise is heard quite distinctly in the upper stories of the house.
Both of them heard Cardillac come downstairs at nine o"clock exactly, according to his usual custom, close and bolt the door with a great deal of noise, go upstairs again, read the evening prayer, and then as was to be presumed by the shutting of the door go into his bedroom. Therefore, about half-past nine the housekeeper struck a light in the kitchen, which she reached by crossing the passage, and sat down at the table beside her master with an old chronicle-book, from which she read aloud, whilst the old man, fixing his thoughts on the reading, sometimes sat in his arm-chair, sometimes walked slowly up and down the room to try and bring on sleepiness.
All was silence in the house till nearly midnight; but then they heard overhead rapid footsteps, a heavy fall, as of something on to the floor, and immediately after that a hollow groaning. They were both struck by a peculiar alarm and anxiety, the horror of the terrible deed which had just been committed seemed to sweep over them.
When day came what had been done in the darkness was brought clearly to light. He had valuable jewels in his possession. You forget that Olivier was to be Cardillac's son-in-law. It is clear that Olivier belongs to that infamous band which, baffling all our attempts at observation or discovery, carries on its nefarious practices with perfect immunity.
Through him everything will, must be, discovered. Cardillac's wound is precisely the same as those of all the persons who have been robbed and murdered in the streets and houses; and most conclusive of all since Olivier's arrest, the robberies and murders have ceased, the streets are as safe by night as by day. Proof enough that Olivier was most probably the chief of the band. As yet he will not confess, but there are means of making him speak against his will.
She does not care so very much about her father. Her tears are all for the young murderer ". It seemed to her that no truth or virtue could endure before this terrible man; as if he spied out murder and dark-guilt in the deepest and most hidden thoughts of people's hearts.
She rose. As she was just going to descend the stairs, to which the President had attended her with ceremonious courtesy, a strange idea came to her - she knew not how. He scrutinised her face thoughtfully, and then distorted his features into the repulsive smile which was characteristic of him. If you do not fear that gloomy abode of crime if it is not hateful to you to see those types of depravity in all their gradations - the doors of the Conciergerie shall be opened to you in two hours" time.
Olivier, whose fate excites your sympathy, shall be brought to you. Everything spoke against him. Indeed, no judge in the world would have thought otherwise than La Regnie, in the face of what had happened. But the picture of domestic happiness which Madelon had called before her eyes in such vivid colours, outweighed and outshone all suspicion, so that she preferred to adopt the hypothesis of some inscrutable mystery rather than believe what her whole nature revolted against.
She thought she would hear Olivier's narrative of the events of that night of mystery, and in this manner, possibly, penetrate farther into a secret which the judges, perhaps, did not see into, because they thought it unworthy of investigation.
Arrived at the Conciergerie, she was taken into a large, well-lighted room. Presently she heard the ring of fetters. Olivier Brusson was brought in; but as soon as she saw him she fell down fainting. When she recovered, he was gone. She demanded impetuously to be taken to her carriage; she would not remain another moment in that place of crime and wickedness. Now all doubt was gone, La Regnie's terrible suspicions completely justified. Olivier belonged to the atrocious band, and had, doubtless, murdered his master!
And Madelon! She gave admittance to the fearful suspicion that Madelon, too, was forsworn, and might have had a hand in the bloody deed.
And as it is the nature of the human mind that, when an idea has dawned upon it, it eagerly seeks, and finds, colours in which to paint that idea more and more vividly; as she weighed and considered all the circumstances of the crime along with Madelon's behaviour, she found a very great deal to nourish suspicion.
Many things which had hitherto been considered proofs of innocence and purity now became evidences of studied hypocrisy and deep, corrupt wickedness. Those heartrending cries of sorrow and bitter tears might well have been caused by the deathly dread of her lover's bleeding - nay, of her own falling into the executioner's hands.
Madelon threw herself at her feet Her heavenly eyes - as candid as an angel's - raised to her, her hands pressed to her heaving breast, she wept, imploring help and consolation.
May the Holy Virgin grant that guilt does not weigh heavily on your own head also.
Much distressed and estranged from all earthly things, she longed to depart from a world filled with diabolical treachery and falsehood. She complained of the destiny which had granted her so many years in which to strengthen her belief in truth and virtue, only to shatter in her old age the beautiful fancies which had illumined her path. Torn by the most contradictory feelings, she cried, "What spirit of the pit has mixed me up in this terrible story, which will be my very death!
At this moment Baptiste came in, pale and terrified, to say that Desgrais was at the door. Since the dreadful La Voisin trial the appearance of Desgrais in a house was the sure precursor of some criminal accusation. Hence Baptiste's terror, as to which his mistress asked him with a gentle smile, "What is the matter, Baptiste?
For Christ's sake," cried Baptiste, trembling in every limb, "how can you say such a thing? But Desgrais - the horrible Desgrais - is looking so mysterious, and is so insistent - he seems hardly able to wait till he can see you. Baptiste," she said, "bring him in at once, this gentleman who so frightens you.
To me, at all events, he can cause no anxiety. Since he saw you, Olivier Brusson has been almost out of his mind. Observe, Mademoiselle, that the latter admission clearly refers to other crimes of which he has been guilty. But all attempts to get him to utter anything further have been vain. He begs and implores to be allowed to have an interview with you.