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the hasty-pudding?  Madame Duparc. Who
assuming that the dinner next day really
contained some small portion of poison, just
enough to swear byprepared that dinner?
Madame Duparc and her daughter, while
the servant was asleep. Having caused the
death of her father, and having produced
symptoms of illness in herself and her guests,
by a dreadful accident, how does the
circumstantial evidence further show that Madame
Duparc tried to fix the responsibility of that
accident on her servant, before she openly
charged the girl with poisoning? In the
first place, she is the only one of the dinner-
party who attributes the general uneasiness
to poison. She not only does this, but she
indicates the kind of poison used, and
declares in the kitchen that it is burnt,—so as
to lead to the inference that the servant,
who has removed the dishes, has thrown
some of the poisoned food on the fire. Here
is a foregone conclusion on the subject of
arsenic in Madame Duparc's mind, and an
inference in connection with it, directed at
the servant by Madame Duparc's lips. In
the second place, if any trust at all is to be
put in the evidence touching the finding of
arsenic on or about Marie's person, that
trust must be reposed in the testimony of
Surgeon H├ębert, who first searched the girl.
Where does he find the arsenic and the
bread-crumbs? In Marie's pockets. Who
takes the most inexplicably officious notice of
such a trifle as Marie's dress, at the most
shockingly inappropriate time when the
father of Madame Duparc lies dead in the
house? Madame Duparc herself. Who
tells Marie to take off her Sunday pockets,
and sends her into her own room (which she
herself has not entered during the night, and
which has been open to the intrusion of any
one else in the house) to tie on the very
pockets in which the arsenic is found?
Madame Duparc. Who put the arsenic into the
pockets? Is it jumping to a conclusion to
answer once more, Madame Duparc?

Thus far, we have assumed that the mistress
attempted to shift the blame of a fatal
accident on to the shoulders of the servant.
Do the facts bear out that theory, or do they
lead to the suspicion that the woman was
a parricide, and that she tried to fix on the
simple friendless country girl, the guilt of her
dreadful crime?  If the poisoning of the
hasty pudding was accidental, the salting of
it, through which the poisoning was, to all
appearance, effected, must have been a part
of the habitual cookery of the dish. So far,
however, from this being the case, Madame
Duparc had expressly warned her servant
not to use salt; and only used the salt (or
the arsenic) herself, after asking a question
which implied a direct contradiction of her
own directions, and the inconsistency of
which she made no attempt whatever to
explain. Again, when her father was taken
ill, if Madame Duparc had been only the
victim of an accident, would she have
remained content with no better help than that
of an apothecary's boy? would she not have
sent, as her father grew worse, for the best
medical assistance which the town afforded?
The facts show that she summoned just help
enough, barely to save appearances, and no
more. The facts show that she betrayed a
singular anxiety to have the body laid out,
as soon as possible after life was extinct.
The facts show that she maintained an
unnatural composure on the day of the death.
These are significant circumstances. They
speak for themselves independently of the
evidence given afterwards, in which she and
her child contradicted each other as to the
time that elapsed when the old man had eaten
his fatal meal, before he was taken ill. Add
to these serious facts, the mysterious
disappearance from the house of the eldest son,
which was never accounted for; and the
rumour of purchased poison, which was never
investigated. Consider, besides, whether the
attempt to sacrifice the servant's life be not
more consistent with the ruthless determination
of a criminal, than with the terror of an
innocent woman who shrinks from accepting
the responsibility of a frightful accidentand
determine at the same time, whether the
infinitesimal amount of injury done by the
poisoned dinner can be most probably
attributed to lucky accident, or to premeditated
doctoring of the dishes with just arsenic
enough to preserve appearances, and to
implicate the servant without too seriously
injuring the company on whom she waited.
Give all these serious considerations their due
weight; then look back to the day of Monsieur
de Beaulieu's death: and say if Madame
Duparc was the victim of a dreadful accident,
or the perpetrator of an atrocious crime!

That she was one or the other, and that,
in either case, she was the originator of the
vile conspiracy against her servant, which
these pages disclose, was the conclusion to
which Monsieur Fournel's pleading on his
client's behalf inevitably led. That pleading
satisfactorily demonstrated Marie's innocence
of poisoning and theft, and her fair claim to
the fullest legal compensation for the wrong
inflicted on her. On the twenty-third of
May, seventeen hundred and eighty-six, the
parliament of Paris issued its decree,
discharging her from the remotest suspicion of
guilt, releasing her from her long imprisonment,
and authorising her to bring an action
for damages, against the person or persons
who had falsely accused her of murder and
theft. The truth had triumphed, and the
poor servant-girl had found laws to protect
her at last. Under these altered circumstances,
what happened to Madame Duparc?
What happened to Procurator Revel, and his
fellow-conspirators? What happened to the
authorities of the parliament of Rouen?


The premonitory rumblings of that great

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