Mauprat eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 382 pages of information about Mauprat.
all the formalities had not been fulfilled; that sufficient light had not been thrown on certain points in the case; that it would be showing too much haste to give a verdict when several circumstances were still wrapped in mystery.  He demanded that the doctors should be called to express an opinion as to the possibility of taking Mademoiselle de Mauprat’s evidence.  He pointed out that the most important, in fact the only important, testimony was that of Patience, and that Patience might appear any day and prove me innocent.  Finally, he demanded that they should order a search to be made for the mendicant friar whose resemblance to the Mauprats had not yet been explained, and had been sworn to by trustworthy witnesses.  In his opinion it was essential to discover what had become of Antony Mauprat, and to call upon the Trappist for information on this point.  He complained bitterly that they had deprived him of all means of defence by refusing any delay; and he had the courage to assert that some evil passions must be responsible for such blind haste as had marked the conduct of this trial.  On this the president called him to order.  Then the King’s advocate replied triumphantly that all formalities had been fulfilled; that the court was sufficiently enlightened; that a search for the mendicant friar would be a piece of folly and in bad taste, since John Mauprat had proved his last brother’s death, which had taken place several years before.  The court retired to deliberate; at the end of half an hour they came back with a verdict condemning me to death.

XXVI

Although the haste with which the trial had been conducted and the severity of the sentence were iniquitous, and filled those who were most bitter against me with amazement, I received the blow with supreme indifference; I no longer felt an interest in anything on earth.  I commended my soul and the vindication of my memory to God.  I said to myself that if Edmee died I should find her again in a better world; that if she survived me and recovered her reason, she would one day succeed in discovering the truth, and that then I should live in her heart as a dear and tender memory.  Irritable as I am, and always inclined to violence in the case of anything that is an obstacle or an offence to me, I am astonished at the philosophical resignation and the proud calm I have shown on the momentous occasions of life, and above all on this one.

It was two o’clock in the morning.  The case had lasted for fourteen hours.  A silence as of death reigned over the court, which was as full and as attentive as at the beginning, so fond are mortals of anything in the nature of a show.  That offered by the criminal court at this moment was somewhat dismal.  Those men in red robes, as pale and stern and implacable as the Council of Ten at Venice; those ghosts of women decked with flowers, who, by the dim light of the tapers, looked like mere reflections

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Mauprat from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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