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Madame Tiquet to murder her husband. The other parties named were promptly arrested; the fact of her guilt was established beyond all doubt, and she was condemned to die with her chief accomplice Moura.
Now be it observed that aniong those who did all in their power to save her life
the husband whose blood she had paid for in advance. While scarcely recovered from his wounds, he threw himself at the feet of Louis XIV and implored him to pardon her. Under such circumstances it is not strange that the king hesitated; although the same facts show that the archbishop was right in sternly advising him not to comply. Madame. Tiquet still maintained her innocence. Another remarkable circumstance in her case was that the judge who pronounced the sentence of death
her had once been her lover; but he had now a duty to perform, nor did he shrink from it. According to the custom of the time, he bade her place herself on her knees before hini, in order to confess her crime, and give such information as would bring her accomplices to justice. He then proceeded to pronounce an exhortation, in which he contrasted, in the most pathetic terms, her former with her present condition. “She, who was once the idol of the world around her, blessed with beauty, youth, talents, rank, and 'affluence, was a criminal on her way to the scaffold!" He entreated her to spend in repentance the short time that remained to her, and by an ample confession to relieve him from the pain of seeing her placed on the rack.
But no use. It was in vain to try to move the heart that had no more tender feeling for the generous husband whose life was devoted to her than that of the bloodthirsty panther for his prey. We are told that, cold, motionless, and with unshaken voice, she answered him: “You are right. The past and the present are, indeed, strangely different; for then you were at my feet, now I am at yours! But I have done with such recollections. So far from fearing, I desire the moment that is to terminate my wretched life and release me from my misfortunes. I hope to meet my death with as much firmness as I have listened to its announcement; and be assured that neither fear nor pain shall induce me to confess myself guilty of a crime which I have never committed.”
This sort of language, even from the most hardened criminal, not only pleases, but convinces, the mob; it was so in
; this case, and accordingly the judges, the king, and the archbishop were in turn subjected to the coarsest abuse. But no sooner is Madame Tiquet brought to the rack than her resolution fails her, and she fully confesses her guilt, also that of her accomplice Moura, but exonerates her lover Mongeorge. The two criminals were brought to the scaffold in the same car; and both. died side by side, the lady acknowledging the justice of her sentence, and begging forgiveness of all she had so cruelly injured. Now, who that knows anything of human nature will pretend that it was not better for the women of France to see this woman expiate her crimes in this manner, on the scaffold, than to see her undergo a mock trial, and then escape punishment amid the plaudits of the rabble ?
So late as the beginning of the present century the Germans entertained the notion that no capital punishment should be inflicted on a woman, and the ill disposed and vicious of the sex indulged their propensities accordingly, until all save the unthinking and those who sympathized with crime agreed that a new coursg should be pursued if human life was worth preserving. Finally the authorities resolved to make an example; and for this they had opportunities enough. In 1807 there resided in Oberland, in Prussia, a respectable middle-aged female, who supported herself by knitting ; she was a widow who had evidently seen better days, but had suffered much. Her deportment was remarka-, bly quiet and her manner engaging. The ruling principles
. of her life seemed to be the fear of God and the love of her neighbor. She seemed industrious withal, but still unable to secure more comfort for herself than the common necessaries of life. She was known by the name of Nannette Schönleben, but at this time her neighbors knew nothing of her history. As soon as it was understood, however, that an opportunity of improving her condition offered she would be glad to avail herself of it, her excellent reputation procured her such a situation as she desired. In the month of March, 1808, a person of the name of Glaser, who resided at Kasendorf, engaged her in the capacity of housekeeper, at the recommendation of his own son, who had some trifling dealings with her, and formed a very favorable opinion of her character. In a short time she gained the entire confidence of her master, who regarded her as a model housekeeper; and she exercised the influence she possessed over him in such a manner that all his neighbors thought that he was perfectly right in his opinion. He was fifty years old at the time, and had been several years separated from his wife.
Some blamed him for this, and it was agreed among all that there was nothing in the conduct of the lady which justified the separation. As soon as Nannette learned these facts, she resolved to bring about a reconciliation. She wrote letters to the wife, and induced the friends on both sides, to aid her in the good work. Nor did she fail to effect her object. Frau Glaser allowed herself to be persuaded, and the husband declared himself ready to receive her with open arms. short time the lady started for her old home, but, as she subsequently stated, with a heavy heart and strange presentiment. Writing to one of her friends, she remarked: "I cannot describe what I feel s there is a struggle within my heart that I cannot account for. Can it be a forewarning of evil ?" The husband went to meet her; Naunette prepared. a fête for her reception, and the whole village assembled to welcome her. Glaser seemed disposed to treat his wife with great kindness, and she was becoming quite reconciled to her husband. All her fears seemed to have passed away, when she suddenly took ill on the 26th of August, and died the same day; exactly four weeks after her return to her husband.
This was deemed an unfortunate event, but no one supposed that any one was to blame for it. As for Nannette, she was so deeply grieved that many thought she would not long survive her mistress. Soon after, however, she entered the service of a gentleman named Grohmann, who resided at Sanspariel, to whom Glaser recommended her in the strongest terms. Her new master was a fine young man, only twenty-eight years of age ; but he suffered from frequent attacks of gout, and the devotion with which Nannette nursed him on these occasions, elicited his warmest grati· tude. Yet he thought his wife would nurse him still better, and accordingly he resolved to have one.
He made proposals to a young lady, which were accepted; all the prelimi
; naries being arranged, a day was appointed for the marriage; but he was taken suddenly ill. Nannette never quitted his bedside during his sufferings, which were fearful; but she could not prevent him from dying, and she was inconsolable. It seemed strange that a young man who had merely an occasional attack of gout should die so suddenly ; but it did not occur to any one that he was treated otherwise than tenderly by Nannette. Far from suffering in her reputation, the manner in which she had conducted herself at both those places so strongly recommended her that a lady named Gebhard, who was about to be confined, thought herself particuVOL. XI.NO. XXII
larly fortunate in obtaining her services. Nannette attended
After these I read a small pamphlet which contained the trials of five women charged with murder. all of whom were acquitted, although nothing could be clearer than their guilt.” To this she adds that she was married in early life to a notary named Zwangiger. This person had neither energy, industry, nor spirit; he not only allowed her to do as she liked, but in order to raise funds urged her to do what was alike disgraceful and dishonorable to both. The habits of the notary were so irregular that few wondered when he died suddenly in 1796, Doubtless he was her first victim ; but her subsequent course.
; as described by herself, afforded new evidence of the fact that
the woman who will deliberately assassinate her husband will not be likely to spare any stranger, male or female, who happens to incur her enmity, or by whose death she may expect to profit. One of her last remarks on her way to the scaffold was that it would have been well for herself, as well as for society, had she been detected in her first offence and tried and executed for it. “Then," she says, “ several lives would have been spared ; a vast amount of suffering would have been prevented; and I should not now have had so many crimes to answer for in leaving this world." We need hardly add that the fate of Nannette had a salutary effect both on the authorities and the public. For several years after, the jurispru
' dence of Prussia was not called upon to dispose of any similar
Until the “Don Quixote” of Cervantes gave false gallantry its deathblow in Spain, nothing was more common in that country than the murders of husbands by their wives. But that justly celebrated work opened the eyes of all classes to the injurious tendency of the notions then prevalent as to the manner in which a woman ought to be encouraged, even in her crimes. Ever since, women have been held responsible for their conduct quite as much as men; the former, as well as the latter, have been inexorably executed when found guilty of murder. We will note one case, as an illustration, -that of Donna Maria Mendieta of Madrid, who, towards the close of the last century, excited horror and amazement throughout Spain by the assassination of her husband. It was found on investigation that her paramour, Don Santiago San Juan, committed the deed, at her instigation, while her husband was lying sick and helpless in bed. She had made such arrangements as enabled the assassin to escape, after the commission of the crime, without being observed by the servants. That she had not committed the murder with her own hand was evident to all; but she was immediately arrested, nevertheless, and safely lodged in prison. It was supposed that Santiago was absent from Madrid at the time of the occurrence. In order that this might be urged in his favor in the event of suspicion falling upon him, he took formal leave of his mistress, in presence of several of the servants, about ten days before the murder, taking care to notify her that she need not expect him back for at least a month. But the police soon found that he had been all the time lurking about in the metropolis, from one hotel to another, under a fictitious name. However, it was found impossible to arrest