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the crowd on either side drew a little nearer
to watch its progress. The match was
applied and the rocket turned rapidly round
and rushed on its headlong coursenot,
in the direction of the pile, but into the
midst of the dense crowd who were eagerly
watching it. As the engine of destruction
drew near, the horrified spectators
endeavoured, but in vain, to escape. Shrieks and
groans of anguish were heard on every side.
Seven unhappy beings were killed, and many
others fearfully mangled. Still the white
elephant rushed on with increased velocity,
untilas if satisfied with its numerous
victimsit burst with a terrific noise.

By this time the pile had been ignited,
the body of the priest consumed, and the
Poughies, who had silently withdrawn their
car to serve for another occasion, returned in
procession to their respective homes.


MITTELBRON is a little village in the
jurisdiction of Phalsbourg, which in its turn is a
little town at the foot of the Vosges, close
to where the Rhine separates France from
Germany. It is an obscure and insignificant
place, hardly to be found upon any map. A
dismal human tragedy was once acted there,
more than ninety years ago.

Two Jews, brothers, lived at Mittelbron.
They were both married, but occupied the
same house. They were known to be rich:
although they affected penury. They
had one servant, Esther Levi, a Jewess,
as her name certifies. On the night of
the twenty-fourth of September, seventeen
hundred and sixty-eight, a gang of robbers
broke into the house of these Jews. They
beat and greatly ill-used all the inmates;
after which they searched the house, and
carried off all it contained of any value. They
took silver, plate, jewels, and money to the
amount of forty thousand francs, and took
their departure without hindrance or

The next morning the two Jews went
before the criminal judge of Phalsbourg,
and gave information of the robbery. They
deposed that the band by whom they had
been robbed was between twenty and thirty
men strong; the greater number of these
were entirely unknown to them, but there
were seven German peasants, who lived at a
small hamlet near Phalsbourg, called the
Three Houses of Lutzelbourg; and the two
Jews swore positively that they had recognised
four of these men amongst the robbers.
Although they would not swear to the
identity of the other three, they could be
nearly positive that they too had been
amongst the band.

These seven Germans were peaceable,
inoffensive, hard-working men; all of them
married, and all of them with families, whom
they brought up to industry. They were the
most unlikely people in the world to be
mixed up with a deed of robbery and violence.
Nevertheless, the robbery was a fact; and
the Jews swore that four of the seven they
had seen and recognised among the band,
and strongly suspected the other three;
although they would not swear to them with
certainty. This cautiousness on the part of
the two Jews seems to have been the point
that bore the heaviest against the accused;
who were forthwith seized and flung into
separate dungeons. A great number of
witnesses were called, who could throw no light
whatever upon this audacious robbery, nor
did anything come to light to criminate the
accused men. The whole affair was involved
in inexplicable mystery. The unfortunate
prisoners were entirely ignorant of the
language of the court in which their trial
was conductedthey could only speak a rude
patois; they were entirely ignorant of all
they ought to do, and they were refused the
assistance of counsel. What chance had
these poor frightened peasants of asserting
their innocence? True, there was no
evidence against them: no trace of the stolen
property in their possession; but then the
two Jews who had laid the accusation were
the witnesses also, and they swore positively
to four of the prisoners, and expressed very
little doubt about the others. The prisoners,
through the interpreter, denied their guilt;
but they were not believed by the court.
The trial was soon over. They were found
guilty, and here is the sentence:

"All things weighed and concluded, we declare,—
Guillaume Braun, Matthis Errette, Michel Fix, and
Jean-Gaspard Beckvert, accused and convicted of having
entered with force and violence on the night of the
24th of September, between ten and eleven o'clock at
night, into the house of Moses Cerf and Solomon Cerf
Jews, dwelling at Mittelbron,—and of having
violently ill-used both them and their wives, and their
servant, Esther Levi, and of having broken open, with
hatchets and blows, coffers and boxes, and of having
stolen the contents thereof; it is ordained, by way of
reparation, that the above-named prisoners are
condemned to be hanged and strangled, until they are
deadupon a gibbet, to be erected for the purpose, in
the place d'armes of this town (Phalsbourg); further
we declare all their goods to be confiscated, fifty livres
of restitution to go to the king in case that the whole
confiscation does not go to his Majesty. The aforenamed
prisoners are to be applied to the tortureordinary
and extraordinaryfor the discovery of their
accomplices. It is also ordered that Joseph Siégler,
Louis Siégler, and Ulrich Becker, shall also be
subjected to the tortureordinary and extraordinaryto
force them to confess all the facts of the robbery.

"Given in our presence, at which judgment Messire
François Helerix, Conseiller du Roi and special
lieutenant of this place; and M. Nicholas Demange, avocat,
practising at the same place.

"Done and judged in the ordinary chamber of the
place, the 10th of December, 1768.

"(Signed) Schneider, Helorix, et Demange."

That same day the sentence was read to