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adjacent, with the lower part of the house itself. The situation of the house was also minutely given, to the very contiguity of the two poplar trees growing outside the wall, up from the canal, but by which the pompeurs had found it impossible to climb in their heavy accoutrements—the height of the wall on that side, and the manner in which the end of the house rose like a continuation of it towards the quay, rendering it apparently impossible, even when one had gained the top of the wall, to reach at all near the solitary first-floor window, in the middle, and higher up. Then followed a detail of the various occupants of the three floors and garrets-on the basement, the proprietor, a widower, elderly and of avaricious habits, whose warehouse of furniture filled three apartments, his sleeping chamber being a closet attached-his clerk, an old man who lived in a fourth apartment with his wife, both acting as porters: above, the family of Monsieur Vilby, the Englishman, consisting at that time of himself, his wife, and infant son, a young female attendant, a child's nurse, and the man-servant or butler of M. Vilby on the third storey and in the attics, a banker's head-clerk, with his wife, her maid, and three young children—a journalist, a painter, and an actor, living together a single young man, of no profession, (though calling himself a poet), supposed subject to harmless fits of lunacy, inhabiting an attic where he was known frequently to lock himself in. Of these there had perished-the old proprietor himself, M. Canrobert, in whose apartment the fire was supposed to have originated, since he warmed himself only in bed, while supping alone, by candle-light - and the portress, whose husband, luckily for him, had chanced to be absent on business of his master's, - the remains of both being still distinguishable if only from the place of their discovery: the English lady, Madame Vilby-her infant, at first supposed to have been the one saved by the nurse, but found afterwards to have perished in her embrace, although the charred and mingled debris of the whole upper storeys fallen from above rendered it difficult to distinguish one mass of human substance from another: the man-servant
of the English gentleman, at one time imagined identical with the person so active on the wall;—also others, above, who were enumerated. Then succeeded the depositions of the various individuals in evidence.
"Victorine Tronchet, fille-de-chambre to the late Madame Vilby, declared, that before ten o'clock her mistress signified an intention to sit up for monsieur, who had gone to a theatre at some distance, and that she might retire. Retired to bed, accordingly, in a closet adjoining the nurse's room-saw the nurse, as she thought, carry out the child as usual to her mistress-imagined, while half asleep, or dreamt, that her mistress herself afterwards passed through the room, stooped over the bed with the child in her arms, and disappeared. But knew nothing further until awoke by the suffocating vapours. Could read - but did not sit up in bed with a candle, perusing romances. There was a lamp always burning on the floor of the nurse's room. Was not aware, that night, of the nurse having her own child in the house. Believed her mistress to be ignorant of it. Could not tell why her mistress did not herself suckle the child-knew nothing of such affairs. Did not know that Madame's voice had been brillianthad heard her mistress sing to a musical instrument, when M. Vilby was at home. M.Vilby had returned home that day, unexpectedly, from England. He went to the theatre, accompanied only by M. Adolphe, his servantperhaps because Madame had a headache. They used frequently to go to the theatre. Had heard that a new actress of celebrity would perform. The man-servant, M. Adolphe, returned early with some message to Madame, and retired up the outside stairs to his attic at the top of the house.'
"The examination of the stranger who had been so active was made through an interpreter. Stated his name to be Guillaume Greefeeze. Was not a native of England, but of Wales. Knew nothing of the fire, except that having followed M. Vilby's hackney-coach from the theatre, he smelt smoke, and saw immediately the fire lick out (se lécher) through the front-windows, when the doors
below were burst open-heard shrieks at the further end-leapt down by the canal, to climb the wall,-saw suddenly, by the light of the fire, a woman in white at the window a little above-thought she had fallen down inside, till she came back, holding out a child and calling to him. Succeeded in getting to the window by help of the barred outside shutter on that side, which swung with him, however -found it impossible to get either of them down to the wall, which did not come near enough towards being under the window-without firmly fastening the outer edge of the shutter to a staple already there. Refused to leave the woman as she seemed to wish-signed to her to hold the child fast-tore down one end of the window-curtain, which held firm-made her slip herself down after him in the fold of the curtain, while he held the end firm with one hand, catching the shutter by the other. On the top of the wall, which was luckily broad enough to hold them, the woman seemed to faint away, so as nearly to drag them off, when they would have fallen into the canal-shouted for assistance then-before that, all the firemen and the crowd were in front, making a noise-with the pumping, the sound of the fire and wind, and the falling of the roof, it was useless. They were seen by chance, when the woman and child were carried to the hospital. Afterwards assisted at the pumps till the end.'
"The evidence of this witness was extracted with difficulty, by fragments, in spite of a somewhat sullen and cynical air, almost cunning. He frequently used the eccentric phrase 'for reasons of his own.' It was thought proper, from these and other suspicious circumstances, to detain him in the meanwhile.
"The statement of the nurse, Suzanne Deroux, was taken formally by her bed-side, in a ward of the Hotel Dieu, where the fever from her injuries continued, while it was doubtful whether her sight would again become perfect. As for her child, whose arm had suffered, hopes had only begun to be entertained of its recovery. Was a native of Normandy, unmarried. Had two children-a girl of four, and the young child which she
had left with a neighbour, to obtain support by nursing that of Madame Vilby. Had obtained the assistance of the portress in having her own child brought to her privately, at intervals, that she might still contribute to its health. Had thought it pining, as her neighbour was a Parisian-was very healthy herself, being originally a
peasant-but was not allowed to go out, except with the child of Madame Vilby in the daytime, accompanied by her or a servant. On the night of the fire, had had both the children with her-and as usual, conveyed that of Madame Vilby to her bed-chamber, to be seen by her while awake. Did not see Madame Vilby after that, but fell asleep holding her own child in her arms to lull an uneasiness it showed-while that of Madame Vilby, which was younger, slept soundly at the other side of the large bed. The suffocating smoke, and the shrieks of Victorine, the fille - de - chambre, made her rise bewildered, seizing the child which she felt clasping her and again uttering complaints. She rushed to the nearest window, which would not open-that of the opposite room, however, yielded, admitting a gust of wind by which the smoke appeared to explode beyond into flame, and showing a man attracted by her cries to the adjoining wall. Confessed that her recollection of the other infant had not till then returned-that her instinct urged her to return only for her own, which she had let fall when attempting to open the first windowthat she ran to search the bed, however, in vain-concluded that Victorine or some one else had snatched the child immediately from the side of the bed. Caught up her own infant from the floor where she had dropped it, and after both had been for a moment on fire from the partition of the room, was rescued by the window. Did not yet know whether any one had perished. Was certain the fire had not begun in the nursery, from the lamp on the floor-having distinctly recollected awaking in complete darkness -the lamp must have been overturned, extinguished, or taken away. Acknowledged, of her own accord, that in secretly obtaining her own infant she had committed a crime. Always slept soundly at night, hav
ing been a peasant. Did not know anything more, and had no expectation of her child living, it was so sickly from the manner of nourish ment.'
"In reference to some of the remains discovered, surgical testimonies were opposed. Amongst several unclaimed bodies deposited at La Morgue, during the progress of this examination, was that, evidently, of an Englishman, whose blue coat and top-boots betrayed his origin. Although swollen and disfigured, while found naturally at a distance down the Seine, yet no other Englishman than the man-servant of M. Vilby had disappeared. The inference became certainty from the subsequent declarations of many pompeurs, gendarmes, and bystanders, that after the rescue of the nurse with her child, a figure had been seen to leap from the pursuit of the flames out of this window into the canal.
"The declaration of M. Vilby, after several days, was taken. "Believed the fire to be accidental. Had left Madame slightly indisposed, to see an after-piece at the theatre, which he particularly wished to see with her. Had been somewhat annoyed at her inability to accompany him. Had met friends, and instead of remaining, had sent home a message by his servant, to say he might return late. Had left them, however, earlier than he at first intended-and'- -the emotion of the witness was at that point more expressive than words. The commissary-in-chief intimated that no further evidence on the part of M. Vilby would be necessary, unless on inferior points. He was aware of the employment of Suzanne Deroux. Did not know of her introduction of her own infant on any occasion into the house. During his absence on business, his wife had gone out of Paris for some days to visit a married friend, leaving their child, with his full approval. He had approved her not nursing the child herself-nay, had suggested it. He had considered Suzanne a faithful servant, if not very intelligent. Certainly, had she been so, she might have saved his child, without risking her own. He was now about to visit the married friend of his wife in the neighbourhood of Paris.'
"Additional statement of M. Vilby, Knew the young man Greefeeze. Had seen him several times in England-was unaware of any reason why Greefeeze should follow him from the theatre, or from the hotel of his friends. There was no enmity between himself and this man-on the contrary, he had always found Greefeeze apparently desirous to serve him-had at one time intended to employ him, and once recommended him as gamekeeper to his brother in England. With regard to the body found, had gone to see it at La Morgue, and could trace no resemblance to his servant, John Adolphe. Adolphe never had worn top-boots, that he was aware of. Adolphe was not an Englishman; but, he believed, a Swiss. Having been a trooper in the regiment of his own brother, a British officer, and been for a time his brother's servant, particularly recommended by him when leaving the regiment for private service, this young man had had his perfect confidence. Was convinced that Adolphe must have lost his life in endeavouring to save what was most precious to his master. Had had him some time before his own marriage, and knew him well. Had himself leapt out of the open window at the end of the house, hardly knowing the canal was below-after the utmost hazard of his life. Had found the whole interior a mass of smoke, bursting into flame from near the staircase
the wind from the open casement alone saved him from suffocation. Had heard no one-felt no one-all whirling, crackling, burning-a hell out of which he still wished he could have thrown himself into annihilation. It was, therefore, probably himself the other witnesses had taken for his servant-or for the dead body at the Morgue. Had been carried into the river, no doubt-but swam to the quay-there was light enough, God knew-came up the stairs without even being noticed-was only sorry that men were so mad as to cling to life, when it was misery. Thought it proper to comply with the forms of law in a country, but considered them often a mockery.''
Here ended the main portion of the police record. A subsequent note in red ink, however, directed farther on
perceived by the commissary-but the retractation appeared more eccentric than the denial. The pension, too, which Sir Vilby now conferred on the nurse, ought to have been given before, as the very material injuries were received at all events in his employment."
It was with no ordinary feelings that Sir Godfrey Willoughby perused or listened to this formal memorial of an event that had been so long obscure to him: it seemed, however, to leave little now indefinite or concealed; numerous though the details were, which it presented for the first time, they implied nothing really evil, or extraordinary, save as most human calamities might; and the result was rather satisfactory than otherwise. But the afternoon was now far advanced, and he rode homeward, to dine alone, to finish an uncompleted packet to his Exeter lawyer, with information and inquiries about the so-called young Griffiths, as well as in regard to his adoptive father then to set off, a little later than he had expected, to meet his returning party on the Versailles road.
to a later entry in the volume, with the date of nearly six months after. "The Englishman Greefeeze reappeared at the bureau, with passports to be viséd for England. Stated that he was in the service of M. Vilby, who had suddenly become, by the death of an elder brother, the possessor of a title and estates. Desired, in the indifferent manner of the English, to know the state of the woman Suzanne Deroux. Inquired for her residence, on the ground that his master would confer a pension on her for her injuries.' An inspector was sent with him to the woman's house, where she had at length returned from the hospital with her child. The emotion of her gratitude on perceiving Greefeeze was the more conspicuous from his impassibility. Yet on the following day, accompanied by the woman and her child, now recovered, Greefeeze presented himself at the bureau, to declare his adoption of the latter, under his own name. He was required to procure a notarial and ecclesiastical testification, as well as to engage against the future return of the child for subsistence from the police also the approval of his master, Sir Vilby.-Sir Vilby indeed appeared at the bureau, when about to leave Paris in haste. His voice and features were scarcely recognisable from the effects of suffering. He disavowed consent to the act of Greefeeze, who followed him, and whom he contemptuously called a fool. Sir Vilby, however, intimated the right of Greefeeze to pursue his eccentric idea, if persevered in. The stubborn Greefeeze alluded to a wife whom he had left in his own country of Wales, and who was unhappy from the absence of children. His sentiments had apparently been touched in the act of rescuing this infant, which he was about to intrust, on the journey, to the female fellow-travellers who might accompany them. The act of adoption is consequently recorded as follows Sir Vilby requested to correct his statement on the previous occasion, six months before, with regard to the body at La Morgue, since, on reflection, he was decidedly of opinion that it was that of the Swiss, John Adolphe, his servant. This had already, indeed, been
The circumstances of their late dilemma were soon related-rather tending to Charles's disadvantage in the eyes of his father, who, amidst all his general mildness, was inclined to look upon the youth's disposition with occasional severity; seeming, as it did to him, at that half-formed stage, when lads are least agreeable in the paternal view, to indicate some traits, both erratic and froward, though at times brilliant, of his second uncle, John. He scarce listened to the boy's explanation, and checked his self-justifying arguments somewhat abruptly; to the silent chafing of his son's spirit, and the mother's still more silent concern. But at their late coffee-table, all being apparently forgotten with Sir Godfrey's expressed resolution never to trust the riage in future apart from his own guidance, they sat pleasantly talking by candle-light. "So soon as Frank arrives, my dear Kate," said Sir Godfrey, from his arm-chair to the sofa where his wife leant near, recovering from her fatigues, "we shall leave forthwith for the country. I have scarcely any further business in
Paris. And you have seen here, I daresay, all that is to see?" She assented perfectly. Mr Thorpe had launched out almost in a dissertation to the governess and Miss Willoughby, the fruit of his late rural notices, on agriculture and ecclesiastical arrangements; led on by Mrs Mason's attentive air, and the apparently intelligent interest of Rose. It was with a mild confusion that he heard the young lady's abrupt doubt as to the sufficiency of sugar in his cup, followed straight by the addition of another lump from the silver tongs in her hand; and while Mr Thorpe stirred, and tasted, she had quietly escaped from the room, perhaps to re-read her dearest friend's epistle. So Sir Godfrey, who not merely treated the tutor with the utmost deference as a graduate and a deacon of the Church of England, but entertained great respect for him as a learned and good manat once joined himself to the topicdiffering slightly from the view that English plans, even English Protestantism, would improve Frenchmen.
on the suggestion of his officers, so that the ship set sail with me beyond colonial reach. In the fleet of Count de Grasse I was indebted for the utmost kindness to the captain of the frigate; and when, not long after, at the defeat by Lord Rodney, he himself, with his ship, was captured, I was enabled, in some degree, to repay the obligation. We contracted the warmest friendship. Indeed, I regret not having heard from the Count for many years, and his estates, I believe, are not near Paris."
"I, of course, have happened to come a good deal in contact with them abroad, my dear sir," added he, "particularly in North America, during the late war, and I assure you they have many generous, noble, and honourable qualities, peculiarly their own, which would perhaps be lost in any forced imitation of us. When I was taken prisoner by our own rebels there, I really believe, Thorpe, that but for the clear and gentlemanly conviction of some French naval officers, who came up at the time, I should have been summarily hanged on the spot as a spy. I had sought to escape in the uniform of a dead Frenchman, from a band of savages, and colonials more brutal by far-though, among my captors, there were some who ought to have known better. Nothing saved me, in fact, but the ready quickness of these officers, whom I had never in my life seen before. They immediately claimed me as a prisoner who had broken parole from their frigate, by swimming to the river bank-a charge which I, of course, indignantly disowned. I was, however, taken on board in their boat, when the assertion was persisted in by the captain, a French nobleman,
"Observe, however," persisted Mr Thorpe, stubbornly," the extreme want of principle which, in the bulk of the population, must be a thousand times more egregious. A Protestant, Sir Godfrey, would rather have❞—
"My dear Thorpe," eagerly interrupted the baronet," the Count deplored the necessity, or rather the action, so deeply, as never, I do believe, to have succeeded in reasoning the painful recollection away. It clung to him like a superstition, in fact-for you must notice, he had sacrificed, as it were, his hereditary honour to save me-a thing perhaps more fanciful, less dependent on personal character, and more on externals and reputation, than with us. Yet so delicate was his feeling, and his wish to conceal it from me-that it was only by further acquaintance with his character I could observe it-or understand the restless tread on that poop at midnight-the frequent abstraction and sudden fitfulness of his conduct towards the officers who had first suggested his conduct-mixed with a singular regard towards myself-notwithstanding, nay, as if because of all. Nothing, as he afterwards confessed to me, almost with tears, could have induced it, except his recognition in me of an officer and a gentleman, an unfortunate stranger, whose country had been gratuitously opposed and defeated by French aidwhen those of his own race were about to murder him ignominiously. His sword, however, he said, should have been trusted to alone, at all hazards; or, as he afterwards recollected, the frigate's guns might have been turned toward the neighbouring town; indeed, next morning he had even sent to acknowledge the deception, with a