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happened again, by another of the same strange
chances, to be in the street, near the presbytère,
not long after midnight ou the sixth night after
the wedding; she had been surprised and
startled hy hearing some one come out of the
curé's garden; she had watched to see who it
might be, and, though the night was dark, she
had been able to distinguish a woman, carrying
something in her arms, who fled on seeing her. The
widow Gausset, much surprised at. this circumstance,
had gone the next day to the presbytère to
relate what she had witnessed, deeming it a duty
so to do. She had found Jeanne gone, to see her
dying mother, as she was told. She had not
much believed the story, but she had thought the
affair was no business of hers; she did not wish
to compromise the girl, so she had said no more
about the matter at the time.

But since then she had reflected a good deal
on the matter, and several circumstances (the
last and most important of which had caused
her to feel the necessity of revealing all she
herself knew on the subject) had, strangely
enough, been brought before her. In her
wanderingsfor she gained a living by going about
to the neighbouring farms and villages, subsisting
on the charity of all good souls, or by effecting
cures on cattle that were sick, or affected by
the evil eye, or other charmsshe had visited
Jeanne's mother, and, on speaking to her of her
illness and of her daughter's visit, had been
amazed to learn that the old woman had never
been ill, and had never seen her daughter. Finding
this, her suspicions had been so much
excited that shealways as a matter of dutyhad
made every inquiry in the neighbourhood and on
the road between Montrouge and Auray, and
had learned that several persons had seen a
young woman whose description precisely
answered Jeanne's appearance. For instance, a
wayfaring man, who had found a job of work
at Montrouge, which had kept him there for
some time, and a little goatherd, especially, had
seen her come out of a wood by the roadside,
in such an agitated condition that they had
fancied her mad. These persons being called,
their evidence wholly corroborated the Mère
Gausset's testimony. Lastly, came the circumstance
which, as the old widow declared, had
made her feel it was imperative on her to bring
to light all she had learned respecting the affair:

Returning from Montrouge, she was
accompanied by a dog that she had cured of the
distemper, and that she was taking back to his
owner at Auray. Arrived at the wood described
by the last witnesses, the dog had run in among
the trees, and being unable to bring him back by
calling, and fearing to lose him, she had followed
to a certain spot, where she found him tearing
up the ground with his paws. Finding all efforts
to get him away impossible, she had, in some
curiosity, further excited by the fact that the
ground had evidently been lately disturbed,
waited to ascertain what might be the object of
his search, and shortly, to her horror and amazement,
she saw revealed the body of an infant.

Here the mayor of Auray deposed to the old
woman's having made known to him her discovery;
of his having, accompanied by her and the other
witnesses, gone to the spot and found the body
(she had covered it up loosely again, and, by
tying a handkerchief round the dog's neck, had
dragged him away from it by force); and of his
having confided it for examination to Dr. Lenormand,
whose testimony followed.

The doctor declared that, in consequence of
the state of decomposition in which the body
was found, it was impossible to say exactly how
old the infant might have beenbut probably a
week or ten days, possibly a fortnight. There
were no marks of external violence on it, but, as
far as he could judge, from its existing condition,
there was reason to suspect that it might
have been smothered. He had seen one or two
cases of infants that had been overlain, where
the respiratory organs had presented appearances
to which those in the case in question seemed to
bear a strong analogy.

Pierrette, the curé, last of all Jeanne's
mother, were called in to bear evidence, and what
they had to say could in no degree invalidate the
testimony of the previous witnesses.

So Jeanne Decaisne was declared guilty of
child-murder, with the plea, usual in France,
where the life of the culprit is at stake (except
in cases of the most exaggerated atrocity), of
extenuating circumstances. She was sentenced to
the travaux forcés for life.

Jeanne was carried from the court in a state
of insensibility. Next morning, when, at dawn,
the gaoler entered her cell, he found her crouched
in a heap in the remotest corner. He spoke to
her, but when, obtaining no answer, he laid his
hand on her shoulder, she sprang at him, demanding
her child; and such was her violence, that it
required three men to hold her down and bind
her. From this state, which lasted, with little
intermission, for some weeks, she gradually fell
into one of dull, apathetic imbecility, and, in
that condition, as she was generally harmless,
though occasionally, and at long intervals,
subject to fits of passion, her mother was permitted
to take her to her own home, where she remained
till the period of the old woman's death, which
occurred some twelve or thirteen years later.
Then Claude, who, thanks to his own steadiness
and intelligence, and to the curé's protection,
had got an excellent place as gardener at the
neighbouring Chateau de Plancy, took on
himsell the charge of the afflicted woman.

Sixteen years had slipped away, bringing their
changes to Auray-le-Clocher.

The curé, though an aged, was still a hale
and hearty man, and went about his duties with
little diminished activity. His eye and his hand
at billiards were not what they used to be, but,
on the other hand, his skill in the cultivation of
his roses had so much increased, that one of
them gained the prize at the horticultural show
of the chief town of the department, and became
known all over France as the Beauty of Auray.
The Mère Gausset, whose reputation of witchcraft,
with the dread and dislike that belonged
to it, had become yet more general since Jeanne's