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though we do not all admit it, is now more than ever an American characteristic. We borrow, and borrow freely, elsewhere than in the money market. There is hardly a limit to our interests in European matters. I must pass on
with the merest allusion to social influences from abroad, and to the actual social condition of New York, which deserves to be studied at some length. That our private galleries are filled with masterpieces from every European studio-the English, alas! excepted that English and French actors tread the American stage; that German opera is the only opera which paysfacts of this kind, too, significant as they are, I have no space to discuss. If we are less sensitive than formerly to the English verdict upon an American book, we read more English books, and judge them for ourselves none the less freely because we occasionally omit to recognize the author's right to payment in something more substantial than popularity. As this seems to touch that long-vexed question of international copyright, let me say in passing, that while American publishers once opposed such a measure, it is now the English publisher who stands between the English author and American copyright he and the American free-trader who has joined hands with him in favor of the foreign manufacture of books for American circulation. The newspapers which are loudest in the assertion of what they call the American principle in politics and other matters are those which print the greatest amount of European news. That is one of those facts-they might be called phenomena-which present themselves most conspicuously to the traveller in the United States. Never has the space devoted to foreign news been so great. The cheapness of cable rates has, no doubt, much to do with the recent increase; but if foreign despatches could be had for nothing they would not be printed unless there was a demand for them-a public that wanted to read them. Nor is it in the New York papers only that they are to be found. Cincinnati and Chicago and St. Louis are rivals to New York, and, so far as mere quantity goes, some of the Western papers surpass those of the Atlantic seaboard. When Mr. Glad
stone's speech on introducing his Home Rule Bill was cabled to America, some surprise was expressed in England that so much money should be spent, and so much space given to a speech dealing with the details of a complicated meas
It was not the first instance, and certainly will not be the last.
The course of English politics is known in America almost as accurately as here; and of many things besides politics. The leading figures in English public life are not less familiar to the newspaper reader of New York than to him of Manchester or Edinburgh, and it may safely be said that the successive phases of the Cabinet crisis which began with the resignation of Lord Randolph Churchill have been followed in detail in the newer Western States, the very names of which would puzzle an English audience. It is easy to retort that we care for personalities more than for principle, and for gossip rather than facts. A foreigner in a querulous mood might apply Walpole's story of Wilkes to some of the wilder spirits of Western journalism. The Governor of Calais asked Wilkes how far the liberty of the press extended in England. Wilkes answered, "I cannot tell, but I am trying to know." The Kentuckian com. plains of what seems to him a certain stiffness of deportment in English journalism-not by any means in all of itand insists that decorum is only another word for dulness. This is an opinion which may have nothing but audacity to recommend it; but it is an opinion, and may be recorded as such, and taken for what it is worth.
On the whole, it may be said that the American view of British affairs is often sympathetic, sometimes humorous, seldom indifferent, never ignorant. I will leave it to the Englishman himself to determine how much of this description would apply to his knowledge of what goes on in America. The American who visits this country is prone to contrast the meagre telegrams from home in the English papers with the copious despatches from Europe in his own press; and to make reflections upon the want of enterprise and want of interest in things American which he thinks he discovers in London. The word "insularity" sometimes falls from his lips,
Still to do right though right won blame not praise,
Sliming their track to power through tortuous ways,
He stretched his hands out to the other shore, t
THE DEATH OF FRANÇOIS DE SENAC.
BY S. BARING-GOULD.
IN 1712 there lived in a country mansion near Marseilles at Saint Barnabé a gentleman named François de Senac, his wife and three sons. The family was large. M. and Mme. de Senac had had in all eleven children-six boys and five girls-but they had lost one son and three daughters by death, and the two other daughters, finding home very unhappy, had become nuns. The eldest son, Antoine, was in the navy, and was an ensign in the vessel of M. Cassell. The fourth son, Etienne-Gayetan (Stephen Cajetan), was sub-lieutenant in an infantry regiment, and was, as well as his eldest brother, absent on service.
but his income was derived entirely from his pay as Captain of the Galleys, and his pay did not arrive very regularly. The family was, accordingly, somewhat straitened in circumstances. When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window. Mme. de Senac had long ceased to love her husband. They had been married in 1681, when he was aged forty and she eighteen. As far as can be judged from what transpired later, he was not an agreeable man; at the time he was seventy-one, and had become old and querulous. Mme. de Senac was a woman with a violent temper. She had never forgiven him his want of success in life; when she married him she had, Though fallen on evil days, On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues.
M. de Senac was badly off. He belonged to an ancient and noble family,
Paradise Lost, Book VII., v. 25-6. Tendebantque manus ripe ulterioris amore.-Æneidos, Lib. Vl., v. 314.
perhaps, been led to believe that he was on the highway to promotion, and that he had a private fortune. His want of energy, and perchance of talents, had stood in the way of his advancement.
Mme. de Senac complained to her children of their father. If they were pinched, it was his fault; he was too lazy to exert himself. If no prospects opened before them, who was to blame but their father, who had dropped all his influential acquaintances? The habit of grumbling against her husband had become inveterate with Mme. de Senac; she placed no constraint on her tongue, and encouraged her children to despise their father, and regard him as the bane of their existence.
Of late Jean-Baptiste, the second son, had greatly annoyed his father by marrying the niece of the parish priest; but the old man forgave him, and in token of forgiveness invited him to dine with him at the country-house on October 16, 1712, which was the day of the village vol or fête. All the party went to church in the morning, then returned to the little château, or bastide, as a country-house is called in the south of France, for an early dinner, after which the young people intended to go to the fair and merry-making.
The old gentleman was attended by a Turkish servant named Assan-Ali, who had been taken from the galleys and had been with him as valet for some years. The family kept a single female servant, Suzanne Borelli, but she was away that day, she had obtained leave of absence. Besides Jean-Baptiste, his brothers François-Guillaume and LouisCésar dined at home. The youngest was a boy of thirteen.
After dinner the second of those at home, François-Guillaume, a young man aged eighteen, asked his father to give him some money wherewith he could amuse himself at the fair. The old man fumbled in his pocket and produced five sous. He was not in the habit of keeping money about him, he gave up all he had to his wife. The young man was angry at being offered so small a sum, whereupon the old gentleman gave him ten sous. François. flew into a rage, and swore at and grossly insulted his father; at the same moment his mother came out of the ad
joining room and added her voice to that of the young man. She took his part, and poured forth a torrent of abuse against her husband, who, she said, had never exerted himself to obtain for his sons the means of subsistence, and begrudged them every pleasure. François, excited by his mother's violence, lost all control over himself; he planted himself in the doorway, and, drawing his sword, vowed he would make his father suffer if he did not at once furnish him with money sufficient to enable him to enjoy himself that evening at the fair.
The old man called to Assan Ali to go downstairs and saddle his horse. He threatened to ride at once to Marseilles and complain to the magistrates of the conduct of his sons. He launched his threat at both, because the elder, JeanBaptiste, had now mingled his voice with that of his mother and brother in abuse of their father.
This threat excited the rage of Mme. Senac beyond all bounds, and she screamed to her sons, If you let him do this you are ruined for life.
Then she flew upon her husband, seized him by his hair, and flung him down on his back. Jean-Baptiste seized his father by the throat, threw himself on him, and as he held him François struck him on the temple with his sword, which he had sheathed.
All the while the little boy, LouisCésar, stood crying and wringing his hands in a corner, and Ali, the Mussulman, stood paralyzed with horror, without offering help to his unfortunate master. It does not seem that Mme. de Senac or her sons intended to kill the old man, but they did kill him; the blow on the temple after the violent fall, when pulled backward by his hair, sent the feeble life out of him. The wife and sons did not realize at first what they had done, but fancied he had fainted. When, however, all their efforts to restore life proved unavailing, the horror of their crime, and dread of the consequences, seized them.
Mme. de Senac alone retained her presence of mind. She insisted on her son François going to the fair and amusing himself there, or pretending to do so. She gave him a crown, and bade him go and put on a face of jollity.
Then she sent the boy Louis-César for the curé, M. Sénélon, whose niece was the wife of her son Jean-Baptiste. While he was gone, Jean-Baptiste and the Turk carried the body upstairs to the old man's bedroom, locked the door, and Mme. de Senac took the key. Presently the curé arrived, and heard with dismay the frightful story. They had no scruple in confiding it to him, as he was linked with them in interest to keep the matter quiet. After some consideration, he advised that the body should be thrown out of the upstairs window, that the handle of a cage in which was a linnet should be passed over the dead man's hand, and that it should be announced that M. de Senac had been leaning out of the bedroom window to get the cage to feed his bird, when he had overbalanced himself and fallen. He added that he could not bury the old man, when he had died a violent death, till the proper magistrate had inspected his body and given him a warrant of interment. Then the curé left to say vespers.
His crafty counsel was followed; but Jean-Baptiste was so overcome with terror that it was only at the repeated urgency of his mother that he helped to execute the plan mapped out by M. Sénélon. Mme. de Senac killed a fowl on the place where the dead man was to be flung, to make believe that he had lost there a good deal of blood.
As soon as the corpse was precipitated from the window, a great commotion was excited. Mme. de Senac screamed, went into hysterics, and fainted. People came up, and helped to carry the dead man upstairs. Jean-Baptiste, overcome by terror and self-reproach, fell into a fit.
The Lieutenant-Criminel, to whom a message was at once sent, hastened to the spot and ordered surgeons to examine the body. This was done in a perfunctory manner. The blows on the head which had caused death were satisfactorily accounted for by the fall. The magistrate signed the order, and M. de Senac was buried. Not the smallest suspicion was roused in any breast that the poor old man had met with foul play.
Jean-Baptiste wrote to his uncle, the Count de Senac, his father's brother, to
announce the death, with all the circumstances as arranged to be given to the world, and told him that he, his brother and mother, were left destitute, as all they had to live on had been their father's pay. The Count at once ap
plied for a pension for the widow and children, and obtained one for them of six hundred livres, or about 25%.
The only persons who were not satisfied with the account of the death were the two innocent brothers, who were absent, Antony and Stephen-Cajetan. They made further inquiries; they questioned Louis-César, and finally discovered the horrible truth. The guilty parties were not uneasy at the secret being shared with them, for the other brothers were equally interested in keeping it from the world. How the truth came out in the end is one of the most curious stories of the discovery of a great crime that is on record.
Etienne-Gayetan was displeased with the way in which the pension was disposed of. He objected to his mother having the dispensation of it, and as his eldest brother Antony would have nothing to do with it, he demanded that the pension should be dispensed through him. To this Jean-Baptiste objected; he was aged twenty-five, and older than Etienne. Angry letters passed between the brothers, and Stephen devised at means of frightening Jean-Baptiste into submission. He wrote a letter to the Marquis de Montolien, a friend of his father, detailing the crime, and he showed it to Louis-César, when the boy. visited him, telling him that he intended to post it. He had not the least intention of doing this, but he thought that the fear of the crime being revealed would make his brother give way. When Jean-Baptiste heard of what Etienne had done, he was filled with terror, and supposed that his only safety lay in also writing to the Marquis, and throwing all the blame on his brother GuillaumeFrançois. This he did. In the mean time Mme. de Senac heard from the boy of the threats of Stephen, and in a fit of terror she also wrote an account of the crime to her brother-in-law, the Count, throwing all the blame on Jean-Baptiste.
When the Count received his sisterin-law's letter, he was horror-struck. But he was a shrewd man, and too pru
dent to take a hasty and perhaps a false step; so he sent her back the letter, enclosed within one of his, to this effect:
My dear Sister,-I return you a letter I have received with your signature. You have some enemy who has so cleverly copied your handwriting as to almost deceive me. Burn the letter when you have received it, and be careful to so conduct yourself as not to attract the ill-will of any one. I have written to my poor brother's old friend M. de Montolien, who will be so kind as to see that my nephews want nothing.'
The letter of Jean-Baptiste to the Marquis de Montolien filled him also with dismay, and he considered what had best be done. He resolved that chastisement of some sort should fall on the culprits, and he concerned himself to discover a means whereby they might be punished without the crime being divulged, and the scandal affecting the family name.
Thus, the letters of Mme. de Senac and of her son produced very different effects from what they intended.
The Marquis de Montolien, finding himself in need of advice, wrote to his intimate friend, the Marquis de Cavoy, told him the whole story as it was known to him, and impressed on him the necessity of separating the guilty parties from the society of their fellows, and suggested that this might be effected by obtaining lettres de cachet from the king consigning them to the colonies, or to prison.
M. de Cavoy at once called on the Count de Senac, and asked him what he thought of this proposal. The Count replied that he did not believe it was practicable. The king would never sign a lettre de cachet unless he was fully satisfied as to the particulars of the case which called for it. Then he undertook to write to the Marquis de Montolien, to set his conscience at ease, and advise him to leave the chastisement of the guilty in the hands of God. On one thing both were heartily agreed —that the matter must be hushed up, as the family of Senac was one of position and connections; and, in all probability, there it would have ended, had not the hand of Providence interfered NEW SERIES.-VOL. XLV., No. 4
at this juncture, in a remarkable manner, to bring the truth to light.
On leaving the Count's house, the Marquis de Cavoy put the letter he had received from de Montolien in his pocket; where he had other papers relating to some affair in which he was concerned, which he wished to remit to M. de Pontchartrain, who was then minister. On leaving the Count, the Marquis went to the office of M. de Pontchartrain, and handed him his papers. The minister told him that the hour was late, and he was whelmed with business, and could not go into them at the moment, but asked the Marquis to leave them with him over-night, and he would consider them. later. The Marquis consented, gave him the bundle of papers, and left. On his return home, he felt for the Marquis de Montolien's letter to burn it, as he had been advised by the Count. his dismay he could not find it, and conjectured that it had slipped in among the other papers. When he hurried back to the minister's office, it was closed, and he had no resource but wait till next morning, in the hope of his bundle of papers being left unread.
But M. de Pontchartrain fufilled his promise. In the evening he untied the bundle, and at once the letter fell out. Instead of reading the papers he took up the letter, read it, and at once went to the king with it in his hand.
When the Marquis de Cavoy called next morning he learned, to his dismay, that the fatal letter had been submitted to his Majesty, and that M. de Pontchartrain supposed that it had been purposely thrust among the other papers, because the Marquis felt bound in conscience to reveal the crime, yet scrupled to be the denunciator, or appear as such. To this the Marquis could only bow and oppose his silence.
The king sent for his minister and ordered him at once to write to M. le Bret, president of the parliament of Provence, and to M. de la Garde, procureur général, to arrest the guilty parties, and to proceed to try and sentence them with the utmost promptitude.
M. de la Garde was at supper with the president when the courier arrived. M. le Bret opened his letter at table,