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was thunderstruck at the contents, and passed it over to the procureur-général. Neither spoke of the matter before the company at table, but after supper they retired together to discuss it. M. de la Garde pooh-poohed the story. The count, he said, was misinformed. The family was most respectable, well connected, and could not possibly have committed such an atrocious crime; besides, eight months had elapsed since the death of M. de Senac. When he died the proper magistrate and several surgeons had inspected the deceased and saw nothing to arouse suspicion that he had not died by accident. Some enemy of the family had made a false accusation against a worthy woman and her
No sooner had M. de la Garde reached home than he found a letter awaiting him from M. de Pontchartrain, in which all the circumstances of the crime were detailed as far as could be gathered from the letter that had fallen into his hands.
The procureur had no option in the His orders were precise, and he gave instructions for the arrest of Mme. de Senac and her sons. The officers at once surrounded the countryhouse of the Senacs and arrested Guillaume-François and Etienne-Gayetan, who were within. From them they learned that Jean-Baptiste and LouisCésar were living in lodgings together in Marseilles. The head of the police required Guillaume-François to write to his brothers and ask them to come to him. Then, furnished with this letter, the police visited the lodgings of the brothers in Marseilles. When they refused to go to their brothers at St. Barnabé, the police secured them; and all four were thrown into prison.
Madame de Senac was living at Aix, in the house of a M. Ailland. The police went to Aix, and the head, M. Bonnet, entered the room where the wretched woman was. The moment she heard that she was placed under arrest she was as one frantic. She refused to leave, she clung to one of the bedposts, and had to be wrenched away and carried out of the house by main force. In the street was a sedan-chair, in which she was transported to prison, and thence conveyed to Marseilles, where
she was confined in the same cell with her four sons.
When the king received notice that the family was arrested, he reiterated his orders that they should be speedily tried.
It is curious that so ordinary a precaution as to confine the prisoners in separate cells was neglected. The result was, that the mother and brothers had time to concert among themselves the defence they designed to make. Assan-Ali was called as witness. He declared that M. de Senac had died of a fall from his window. He pretended that he knew nothing of a quarrel between the mother, her sons, and M. de Senac. Immediately after Ali had given his evidence, an officer of the galleys, a friend of the family, spirited him away, and concealed him among the convicts, as he feared his constancy under cross-examination. Consequently, when Ali was next asked for, he was not to be found. After some time and much search, he was discovered, and then imprisoned. Suzanne Borelli, the maid-servant, was likewise arrested, though she had not been in the house on the day of the murder since early morning. When she was questioned she threw no light on the crime; she had believed, along with the public, that M. de Senac had fallen out of a window and died of the consequences.
The Turk was not placed in solitary confinement, but where he could communicate with the rest; he was ordered to be kept on bread and water till he gave true evidence. After a while this meagre diet told on him, and he volunteered to tell the whole circumstances. He accused Guillaume-François of parricide; the mother of having urged him to it; Jean-Baptiste, he said, had little to do with the matter. Then each was placed in a separate cell. After five months had elapsed Ali made a fresh confession. He charged Jean-Baptiste with the crime, and exculpated the other two.
Thereupon Madame de Senac was subjected to interrogation. She charged Jean-Baptiste with having murdered his father. She and her other sons had been so bewildered by his attack on the old man that they had lost all presence of mind, and he was dead by the time
they flew to his assistance.
Then the two other brothers were questioned, Guillaume-François and Louis-César, the guilty and the innocent spectator. They united to exonerate their mother and make Jean-Baptiste guilty.
On February 10, 1714, the court pronounced sentence:
Jean-Baptiste is convicted of parricide; wherefore he is condemned to be tortured with red-hot pincers, to have his hands cut off, to be broken alive, and to expire on the wheel, after which his body is to be burned and his ashes scattered to the winds.
Guillaume-François is condemned to have one hand cut off, to be broken alive, and to expire on the wheel, after which his body is to be burned and the ashes dispersed.
Louis-César is condemned, for not having raised his hand in his father's defence, to be present at these executions, and after that to be banished the realm for life.
"Madame de Senac, convicted of having had a hand in the murder of her husband, is condemned to execution by the sword.
Assan-Ali, for not having come to the succor of his master, is sentenced to be whipped.
Stephen Cajetan Boreli acquitted."
Those condemned at once appealed against their sentence to a superior court at Aix, and this necessitated the rehearing of the case at Aix. It was requisite to remove them; but as the authorities obtained wind of a meditated attempt at rescue, and as the family was influential and ramified through the province, and was alarmed at the scandal which would ensue, staining their name were any members executed, the police had to make feints, and smuggle the criminals away on February 14, which was Ash Wednesday, when none in the plot were prepared to rescue them. They were conveyed in safety to Aix, and there lodged in prison, in separate cells.
As the de Senacs were nobles, they demanded to be heard by the Grand Chamber. Their object was to obtain time, so that their relations might wrest a pardon from the king on Good Friday, a day on which he was wont to grant remissions of sentences.
On March 16 the trial began, but was arrested by a protest lodged by Madame de Senac against the authority of the court on certain frivolous grounds which, however, had to be examined and upset before the course of justice was cleared. At length the trial came on, on April 17, and sentence was given on the following day, April 18, 1714, by four judges and ten counsellors who sat with them. It confirmed the former sentence in most particulars. Guillaume-François was, however, to have his head struck off after the loss of his right hand. Ali was sentenced to be hung by the wrists for two hours, and then to be sent to the galleys. LouisCésar and Stephen-Cajetan were discharged.
The execution took place the same evening. When the executioner entered the prison for François he fainted. The criminals were conveyed in carts to the place of execution, which was in front of the church of Saint Sauveur. The Turk wore a scarlet, Madame de Senac a black dress.
They had been sentenced before execution to make "amende honorable" on their knees; that is, to ask pardon of God and the king, holding torches, and Suzanne barefooted and in their shirts; but they were all in a condition of prostration,
which made them unable to comply with the sentence, and a capuchin performed it for them.
Madame de Senac knelt between the wheel and the block; her sons knelt beside her; then the chaplain of the prison called to the vast crowd that had assembled to see them die, This unfortunate family asks your prayers." Then fell on the concourse a sudden hush, which was broken when Madame de Senac stood up and approached the block. Her black hood was removed and the handkerchief that covered her throat. When the executioner put his hand to her white cap, "My friend," she pleaded, leave me that," and he consented. Her eyes were bandaged. She knelt down and laid her head on the block with singular calmness, and in a moment, at the first blow, her head was severed from the trunk. François, in the mean time, was engaged in prayer. He heard the blow, and asked if his mother was dead. He could not see her because of those who stood between. He asked to be allowed to do so. Then those who intervened opened a path, and he looked at his mother's corpse. While so doing a bandage was put over his eyes, and then he was conducted to the block, where his right hand was cut off. The first blow was ineffectual, but it was amputated at the second. Then he laid his head on the block, and it fell like his mother's.
It was now the turn of Jean-Baptiste. He was stretched on a cross shaped like an X. First one hand was cut off, then the other. Then the executioner with an iron bar broke his legs just below the knees, then above, and lastly gave him strokes across the neck and stomach which despatched him. His body was then detached from the cross and interlaced on the wheel which was
erected, with the corpse on top, horizontally. The next to suffer was the Turk, but his was not a capital sentence.
At nine o'clock the bodies were removed, and at ten those of the two brothers were burned. Such was the tragic end of Madame de Senac, who died at the age of fifty-one, and of two of her sons, one aged twenty-six, the other twenty.
Antony was forced by the disgrace to leave the navy, and François his regiment. A small pension was obtained for them by M. de Pontchartrain.
During the trial it came out that Madame de Senac had on more than one occasion sent her sons to apothecaries to purchase poisons, and it was strongly suspected that she had intended to remove her husband by that means. The apothecaries in every case had refused to supply her with what she wanted.
Madame de Senac had been brought up piously by parents who spoiled her. She had been flattered as a young girl, because she united considerable beauty to unusually brilliant parts. Her features were regular, and her shape graceful. She had made several conquests before she married M. de Senac; the bitter disappointment she felt at his want of success in life, and the narrowness of the means at her disposal, gradually ruined all the elements of good in her disposition. Her mind harped on her grievance till her jaundiced eye viewed her harmless husband with hatred, and this hatred indulged in involved her in a terrible unpremeditated crime, which brought herself and two sons to a shameful death, ruin and disgrace to her other sons, and covered both her own and her husband's family with ignominy.-Belgravia.
THE MIR AND THE POLICE.
As soon as the Russian Government had earnestly set its mind to emancipate the serfs, the great question had to be faced, how to manage and keep in order those millions of newly made citizens;
and in the first instance how to make them pay the redemption money to their seigneurs and the ordinary taxes due to the State. The bureaucratic commission appointed for the settlement of the
great emancipation problem decided at first, with true bureaucratic foresight and profundity, that the former seigneurs of the serfs should be entrusted with all administrative and judicial functions in the rural districts as well as with the entire control of the police. This would have been in itself a restoration, in another form, of serfdom, thus making the emancipation a farce, which would have been all the more dangerous because there were only too many other points in which bitter disappointment on the part of the people was to be anticipated. But the Government gave ear to the wiser counsels of the local committees and the press, which pointed to the village commune as an institution natural and long established throughout the country. Accordingly the village commune was preserved, and the open-air meeting of all the peasants, the Mir, was acknowledged as the chief authority, both in the village commune and in the rural volost, or district, an administrative unit comprising several village communes. But here most puzzling questions of detail presented themselves to the minds of the St. Petersburg legislators. Notwithstanding the benevolent regard for the peasants which prevailed in the highest governmental spheres, they could not admit the notion of leaving the Mir just as they found it. It was more than the most robust bureaucratical mind could digest. How to reconcile the Mir with the tchin ?-that was the problem. It was as if two cultures, two different worlds, or rather two different types of human nature, as strongly individualized as they were antipathetic, had suddenly come face to face. What is a tchin? Perhaps this institution is most easily described in the person of its presiding genius the tchinovnik. The tchinovnik is a being convinced that, were it not for his "prescriptions," his "instructions," and his "enjoinments,' the world would go all askew, and the people would begin all at once to drink ink instead of water, to put their breeches on their heads instead of their legs, and to commit all sorts of incongruities. As he passes his whole life, from his earliest youth, in musty offices, amid heaps of scribbled papers, completely out of touch with real life, the tchinovnik un
derstands nothing, has faith in nothing, but these same scribbled papers. He is as desperately sceptical about human nature as a monk, and does not trust a whit to men's virtue, honesty, or truthfulness. There is nothing in the world which can be relied upon but scribbled papers, and he is their exponent. Such an institution as the Mir-a self-governing collective authority, with no trace of hierarchy or distinction of classes, an authority with an almost unlimited sphere of action, and which at the same time kept no record of its proceedings, putting its trust only in the good faith and the collective conscience and wisdom of the community-must have appeared to the mind of a tchinovnik not only incoherent and incomprehensible, but almost contrary to the laws of nature. Manifestly it was his most sacred duty to bring order into this chaos.
Every Russian village commune elects its own elder or mayor, who is spokesman and delegate of the commune before the authorities. In the village itself the elder is neither the chief nor even the primus inter pares, but simply the trusted servant of the Mir. The Mir discusses and regulates everything coming within its sphere of action, leaving hardly anything to the discrimination and judgment of its executive agent. So simple and subordinate are the elder's duties, that each peasant, provided he is not a drunkard or a thief, can fill the post. In many villages, in order to avoid discussions, the office of elder is filled in turn by all the members of the Mir. As the eldership puts the peasant in frequent, almost every-day, contact with the administration, thus involving him in no end of trouble and annoyance, the peasant shows very little ambition to obtain this office. Much persuasion, sometimes scolding and bullying, are necessary to force this honor upon an honest peasant who has not in view the feathering of his nest at the expense of the commune. Some writers -Mr. Mackenzie Wallace among them -in describing the Russian village life wonder at this strange lack of political ambition in our peasantry. We at home think it only too natural; our moujiks have not studied the history of Rome, Athens, and other republics, nor do they so much as suspect the existence
of great municipalities such as those of London, Paris, or New York. Their obsequious imagination does not suggest to them any flattering analogies, and they cannot see that the proffered dignity is anything but a double servitude -to the Mir on the one hand, and to the administration on the other, with no room whatever for the proud selfassertion which is the charm of office for more ambitious souls. The office of elder appears to them a burden and a public labor, differing from those of mending the roads, digging wells, or transporting government freights only in being more trying and troublesome. Now, in modifying the system of rural self-government, the St. Petersburg tchinovniks had the inspiration of transforming this very modest and humble village elder into a diminutive tchinovnik, created in their own image and likeness. The task was not without its difficulties. The elder, as a rule, was deficient in the most essential qualification for his profession-he could not even write or read; he was totally illiterate. It was necessary therefore to provide him with a secretary, who had to undertake all the correspondence, his chief merely affixing his seal or his cross. This important person the clerk was a perfect stranger to the village, a man picked up from the street. As the law must needs give him extensive powers, it was all the more necessary to make him easily controllable. Our legislators were quite equal to the task; they blessed the villages with a system of chancery proceedings which would do honor to much bigger places. To give an idea of the system, suffice it to say that the clerk of the volost is bound to keep in his office no less than fifty-four different register books for recording the fifty-four different papers he has to issue daily throughout the year. In somewhat bigger volosts one man cannot suffice for the task, and the peasants are compelled to maintain two or even three clerks. Need it be added that such a complication of chancery business could in no way keep in check an adroit clerk, or prevent him from abusing his power; rather the reverse. figure which the pissar or clerk cuts in the history of our new rural self-government is a most unseemly one. In its
early period it was decidedly the blackest spot in the whole system, and the Government has undoubtedly contributed to make the pissar as disreputable a character as possible, by expressly prohibiting, out of fear of revolution, the employment on this duty of men of good education. All those who have completed their studies at the gymnasiums (colleges), much more those who have been in high schools, were excluded from this office. Only the more ignorant-those who have been turned out of the colleges, or have never gone further than the primary schools, were trusted to approach the peasantry at such close quarters. Being generally selfseeking and not particularly high-minded people, they turned easily to their advantage the peculiar position in which they were placed. The pissar, the interpreter of the "law," and generally the one not wholly illiterate man in the rural administration, could practically do whatever he chose. The elder, his nominal chief, in whom the word "law" inspired the same panic as in every other peasant, and who was quite bewildered by the bureaucratical complication of his administrative duties, was totally helpless in the pissar's hands.
But the elders could find ample consolation for this sort of involuntary dependence in the consciousness of the power granted to them over the rest of their fellow-villagers. At present they are chiefs and, in the Russian sense of the word, masters, into the bargain. The elder of either category received the right of fining up to one rouble at a time, imprisoning, or imposing compulsory labor, up to two days at a time, on every member of his commune or volost. These penalties are inflicted, at their own discretion, and without appeal, for any word or act they may consider offensive to their dignity; indeed, in some instances it has been enough to be convicted of neglecting to uncover the head in their presence. Nor are the elders' rights to be trifled with in their relations with the Mir as a whole. They are invested with the exclusive right of convening meetings of the commune or the volost. A meeting held without their authorization is declared illegal, its resolutions void, and its conveners amenable to severe penalties. In