Strange True Stories of Louisiana eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Strange True Stories of Louisiana.

A Creole gentleman, M. Montreuil, who seems to have been a neighbor, made several attempts to bring the matter to light, but in vain.  Yet rumors and suspicious indications grew so rank that at length another prominent citizen, an “American” lawyer, who had a young Creole studying law in his office, ventured to send him to the house to point out to Madame Lalaurie certain laws of the State.  For instance there was Article XX. of the old Black Code:  “Slaves who shall not be properly fed, clad, and provided for by their masters, may give information thereof to the attorney-general or the Superior Council, or to all the other officers of justice of an inferior jurisdiction, and may put the written exposition of their wrongs into their hands; upon which information, and even ex officio, should the information come from another quarter, the attorney-general shall prosecute said masters,” etc.  But the young law student on making his visit was captivated by the sweetness of the lady whom he had been sent to warn against committing unlawful misdemeanors, and withdrew filled with indignation against any one who could suspect her of the slightest unkindness to the humblest living thing.

III.

A TERRIBLE REVELATION.

The house that joined Madame Lalaurie’s premises on the eastern side had a staircase window that looked down into her little courtyard.  One day all by chance the lady of that adjoining house was going up those stairs just when the keen scream of a terrified child resounded from the next yard.  She sprung to the window, and, looking down, saw a little negro girl about eight years old run wildly across the yard and into the house, with Madame Lalaurie, a cow-hide whip in her hand, following swiftly and close upon her.

They disappeared; but by glimpses through the dark lattices and by the sound of the tumult, the lady knew that the child was flying up stairway after stairway, from gallery to gallery, hard pressed by her furious mistress.  Soon she heard them rise into the belvedere and the next instant they darted out upon the roof.  Down into its valleys and up over its ridges the little fugitive slid and scrambled.  She reached the sheer edge, the lady at the window hid her face in her hands, there came a dull, jarring thud in the paved court beneath, and the lady, looking down, saw the child lifted from the ground and borne out of sight, limp, silent, dead.

She kept her place at the window.  Hours passed, the day waned, darkness settled down.  Then she saw a torch brought, a shallow hole was dug,—­as it seemed to her; but in fact a condemned well of slight depth, a mere pit, was uncovered,—­and the little broken form was buried.  She informed the officers of justice.  From what came to light at a later season, it is hard to think that in this earlier case the investigation was more than superficial.  Yet an investigation was made, and some legal action

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Strange True Stories of Louisiana from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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