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respecting the localities and the circumstances of
the crimes. He employed the most accurate
expressions. You might have taken him for
a scientific lecturer expounding a theory to
his pupils. "While the police were giving their
evidence, he amused himself with reading the
Journal des Débats. The effort this assumed
indifference cost him may be conceived from the
fact that, during his imprisonment, he drank as
many as twelve bottles of wine in one day,
without being intoxicated.

Lacenaire and Avril were condemned to death,
François to hard labour for life.

"François has saved his head," said
Lacenaire, as he rose to leave the court, "but it will
not be for long."

After the condemnation, he was much more
anxious about the publication of his Memoirs,
the composition of his verses, and the correction
of his proofs, than about the shocking end which
awaited him. His daily occupations consisted
in receiving visits, writing letters, reading the
journals, and carrying on a paper war with The
Corsair, and he thought a great deal more of a
person whom he accused of plagiarising his
ballads than he did of François and Avril. The
latter criminal's mind underwent a complete
change. His anger against Lacenaire had almost
entirely evaporated. Like a soldier who
repented of having threatened his superior, Avril
let fall expressions intimating a desire for
reconciliation with his former chief; in consequence
of which, Lacenaire admitted his quondam friend
to a supper. To all religious exhortations
he continued obdurately deaf, cherishing his
literary vanity almost to the last moment.
"Victor Hugo," he said, "has made a capital
book on The Last Day of a Condemned Criminal,
but I am certain that, if I had but the time, I
could beat him into fits. And yet, whatever
people may say, M. Hugo is a man of talent."

At the place of execution, a score of national
guards in uniform, who had rushed away from
their respective posts, several dramatic artists,
some workmen on their way to their labours
detained by the torchlight preparations, a few
ladies in carriages returning from ani official
ball, and in search of violent emotions, were
already in waiting. The rest of the spectators
were dissolute women, and that scum of
population which is met on the way to all

Avril walked firmly and deliberately up to
the guillotine, with the air of a man who is
entering a tea-garden. Lacenaire was slower
in his movements, and whilst his accomplice
was under the hands of the executioner, he
inquired of M. Allard whether such and such
a person was there, exactly like an actor waiting
in the wing to go upon the stage. He then
made a slight signal to the sous-chef of the Police
of Surety; the functionary approached.

"Would you kindly allow me the satisfaction
of embracing you, Monsieur Canler?" he said,
in an under tone. " 'Faith, no; I think not,"
the other gently replied, after some hesitation.
"Last night I would have done it with pleasure;
but to-day, in the presence of all these
people honestly, I do not care about it."

The executioner of Beauvais had come to
assist his Parisian colleague. To prevent
Lacenaire from beholding Avril's execution, he
wanted to make him turn his back on the
machine. With that ceremonious politeness
which never left him, Lacenaire said,
"Monsieur le Bourreau, would you be good enough
to allow me to see Avril?" And he did actually
see the head fall; but the prolongation of
his own agony punished him for the bravado.
The guillotine was very old; no workman in
Paris could be persuaded to repair it, and the
executioner and his assistants were obliged to
mend it themselves, from time to time, as well
as they could. Lacenaire walked up the steps;
soon, his head was thrust through the red

He was in that horrible position for more than
a minutean immense interval at such a time
and still the blade did not slip in the groove,
which had swelled and was too tight for it.
Instead of falling on his neck, the triangular
knife stuck by the way. They were obliged to
draw it up again. During this interval, by a
supreme effort, Lacenaire raised himself on his
elbows, and steadily looked up at the instrument
of death.

Perliaps at that concluding moment, he was
preparing to utter a final sarcasm, for his mouth
contracted, as if to scoff; but death swept off
the pleasantry that was hovering upon his pallid

M. Victor Cochinat, from whose Memoir the
above account is abbreviated, was shown the
hand of Lacenaire "preserved by a chemical
process." It is the most repulsive hand that
ever was seen. The fingers, lean and thoroughly
canailles, flattened and broad at their extremities,
like the heads of deadly serpents, betray a
crawling cruelty of disposition. The hairs which
cover the back of the hand shine with red
reflections, like a prism held against the light.


WHAT do I hear, sunk deep in pleasant drowse,
Amid the oat-lands, in the winking time,
Before the dawn has gathered half its prime,
And brown-dusked are the gables of the house;

Whilst the white chimneys stare across the wold
Over the sun-dried thatch; whilst whispers come
Blown through musk-hedge tops where the April
Has slowly reddened into July gold?

Is it the harvest, crowned with russet-leaves,
That dances through the meadows, or the day
That, breaking through the stillness of the bay,
Lays one bright arm along the yellow sheaves?

For all the levels of the twinkling plain
Are filled with verdurous murmurs; the wind
The cistus-blossoms into scented flakes,
And on the glass there lisps the noise of rain.

Noon o'er the worlda sultry breathing noon,
With cattle couching in the grasses high,
And, like a withered shadow in the sky,
The reflex of a star-abandoned moon!