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probable course of things, courting a violent
end. An assassination is as invariable a
consequence of certain combinations of provocation
and vengeance, as a conflagration is of certain
combinations of caloric and combustibles.
The moral perversions of the aristocratic
avarice of the countess, we shall see, was a
thing not a whit less revolting than the moral
perversion of the democratic fury of her
groom.

The Countess gave more than her share of
occupation to the police. During one of her
absences in Belgium, all the furniture of her
hotel was packed up and sent off to Havre,
for shipment to America, and the police
only arrived just in time to prevent the
vessel from sailing. Her avarice,
violence, and dishonesty produced continual
quarrels with her ever-changing grooms.
Sometimes she pushed them, and sometimes
they pushed her. She once felled a lad to the
ground with her fist, and hurt him so badly
that he had to be carried to the hospital.

Nothing is known of the family of Antoine
Baumann, her murderer. The process by
which servants are brought who kill their
employers is, however, it may be observed, a thing
of considerable importance to society, and
well worth knowing. Baumann was a native
of Wurtemberg, knowing how to read and
write; and came to France to learn the
language. He could never obtain a place in
Paris as groom in which he could gain more
than twenty pence a-day. He lost one place
for having been drunk. He remained five
years in the service of an artist painter, who
always found him mild, obliging, and faithful.
All money-errands were executed by
him with probity and exactitude. He assisted
his countrymen in distress with generosity.
His only faults were, his sometimes getting
tipsy, and his taking no thought whatever of
the morrow. His intelligence was very limited,
and the effect of drink upon him was rather
to brutify than to irritate him. He entered
the service of the Countess in the end of
January, eighteen hundred and fifty-six.

On the morning of the twentieth of February,
between eight and nine o'clock, he came
out of the huge green gate. His mistress
had sent him to buy some rolls and milk.
Baumann, after making his purchases for his
mistress, entered a wine-shop, and bought
and drank twopence-worth of brandy, obtaining
as much as could be obtained in Great
Britain for a shilling. The wine-shops are
the colleges and chapels of the poor in France.
History, morals, politics, jurisprudence, and
literature, in iniquitous forms, are all taught
in these colleges and chapels, where professors
of evil continually deliver their lessons,
and where hymns are sung nightly to the
demon of demoralisation. In these haunts
of the poor, theft is taught as the morality of
property, falsehood as the morality of speech,
and assassination as the justice of the people.
It is in the wine-shop the cabman is taught
to think it heroic to shoot the middle-class
man who disputes his fare. It is in the wine-shop
the workman is taught to admire the
man who stabs his faithless mistress. It is
in the wine-shop the doom is pronounced of
the employer who lowers the pay of the
employed. The secret tribunals of the nation
of poverty and of crime, hold there their
sittings, and pronounce there their sentences.
These are the camps of one of the armies,
whose wars, whether dumb or thundering, form
the internal life of France. The wine-shops
breedin a physical atmosphere of malaria
and a moral pestilence of envy and vengeance
the men of crime and revolution. Hunger
is proverbially a bad counsellor, but drink is
a worse; and Baumann returned from the
wine-shop with his brain full of an intention
to give his mistress a beating as a lesson.
His dram, we shall find in the end, cost him
more than twopence.

When Baumann returned, heated with
brandy, the Countess scolded him thrice for
not having sufficiently looked for a bit of old
iron. He said he had looked enough for it,
and she said he had not; and he said he had
until he struck her with his fists, and
strangled her with his hands, scarcely knowing
what he did all the while. He dragged
her senseless body into the woodhouse, and
piled straw and wood upon it. A negro
servant in the next house, having heard the
cries, called out to him, "were they strangling
you, down there? " and Baumann answered,
"No, it is nothing." Recovering a little from
his delirium of brandy and fury, Baumann
picked up the keys the Countess had let fall,
and, entering the house, took a purse and
forty-five francs to enable him to escape to
his country. After having washed his hands,
he went to go out by the gate.

Meanwhile, the negro, convinced there was
something wrong, had spoken to a policeman,
who continued to linger about the gate.
When Baumann came out, the policeman
asked him where he was going; and he
answered, to get a dram.

"But you have blood upon you!"

"I have just killed my mistress."

When the Commissary of the Police came,
Baumann told him all about it.

On Tuesday, the fifteenth of April, Antoine
Baumann was tried for murder, and
condemned to imprisonment with hard labour,
for lifethe price of his dram, and the result
of his training in the schools in which he
was bred. The sordid Countess and the
drunken groom reaped both the
consequences of their qualities; and the world is
but too full of seed ripening into similar
fruit.

The Right of Translating Articles from HOUSEHOLD WORDS is reserved by the Authors.

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