It was decided that M. de Chandore and the Marquis and the Marchioness de Boiscoran should attend the trial. They wanted to spare Dionysia the terrible excitement; but she declared that, in that case, she should go alone to the court-house; and thus they were forced to submit to her will.
Thanks to an order from M. Domini, M. Folgat and M. Magloire could spend the evening with Jacques in order to determine all the details, and to agree upon certain replies to be given.
Jacques looked excessively pale, but was quite composed. And when his counsel left him, saying,—
“Keep up your courage and hope,” he replied,—
“Hope I have none; but courage—I assure you, I have courage!”
At last, in his dark cell, Jacques de Boiscoran saw the day break that was to decide his fate.
He was to be tried to-day.
The occasion was, of course, too good to be neglected by “The Sauveterre Independent.” Although a morning paper, it published, “in view of the gravity of the circumstances,” an evening edition, which a dozen newsboys cried out in the streets up to mid-night. And this was what it said,—
ASSIZES AT SAUVETERRE.
Presiding Judge.—M. DOMINI.
[Special Correspondence of the Independent.]
Whence this unusual commotion, this uproar, this great excitement, in our peaceful city? Whence these gatherings of our public squares, these groups in front of all the houses! Whence this restlessness on all faces, this anxiety in all eyes?
The reason is, that to-day this terrible Valpinson case will be brought up in court, after having for so many weeks now agitated our people.
To-day this man who is charged with such fearful crimes is to be tried.
Hence all steps are eagerly turned towards the court-house: the people all hurry, and rush in the same direction.
The court-house! Long before daylight it was surrounded by an eager multitude, which the constables and the gendarmes could only with difficulty keep within bounds.
They press and crowd and push. Coarse words fly to and fro. From words they pass to gestures, from gestures to blows. A row is imminent. Women cry, men swear, and two peasants from Brechy are arrested on the spot.
It is well known that there will be few only, happy enough to get in. The great square would not contain all these curious people, who have gathered here from all parts of the district: how should the court-room be able to hold them?
And still our authorities, always anxious to please their constituents, who have bestowed their confidence upon them, have resorted to heroic measures. They have had two partition walls taken down, so that a part of the great hall is added to the court-room proper.