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“ This is the result of his tender age, and the slight powers of memory he could have had when he was bought and sold, being then barely two years old.
"Hardquanonne is the only person who knows how to perform the operation Bucca fissa, and this child is the only living subject on which it has been essayed.
“The peculiarity of this unique and singular operation is, that if after long years this child should come to be an old man instead of a child, and should his black locks turn white, he would be immediately recognised by Hardquanonne.
"At the time when I write this, Hardquanonne, who knows perfectly well the facts, and participated as principal actor therein, is detained in the prisons of his highness the Prince of Orange, commonly called King William III. Hardquanonne was apprehended and seized as being one of the band of Comprachicos or Cheylas. He is shut up in the dungeon of Chatham.
“ It was in Switzerland, near the Lake of Geneva, between Lausanne and Vevy, in the very house where the father and mother died, that the child was, conformably to the orders of the king, sold and given up by the last servant of the deceased Lord Linnæus, which servant died soon after his master, so that this secret and delicate matter is now unknown to anyone here below, if we except ourselves and Hardquanonne, who is in a dungeon at Chatham, and now about to perish.
“We, the undersigned, brought up and kept, eight years, for professional purposes, the little lord bought by us of the king.
“To-day, Aying from England to avoid Hardquanonne's ill fortune, terror of the penal indictments, prohibitions, and fulminations in parliament, has induced us to desert, at night, on the coast of Portland, the said child Gwynplaine, who is Lord Fermain Clancharlie.
“Now, we have sworn secrecy to the king, but not to God.
“This night, on the sea, overtaken by a violent tempest, by the will of Providence, full of despair and distress, kneeling before Him who could save our lives, and may, perhaps, be willing to save our souls, having nothing more to hope from men, and all to fear from God, having for only anchor and resource repentance of our bad actions, resigned to die, and content if Divine justice be satisfied, humble and penitent, and beating our breasts, we make this declaration, and confide and deliver it to the furious ocean to use as it best may, according to the will of God. And may the Holy Virgin aid us. Amen. And we attach our signatures.”
The sheriff interrupted, saying,
“ Doctor Gernardus Geestemunde.—Asuncion.-A cross at the side. Barbara Fermoy, from Tyrryf isle, in the Hebrides; Gaizdorra, Captain ; Giangirate; Jacques Quartourz, called the Narbonnais ; Luc-Pierre; Capgaroupe; from the galleys of Mahon."
The sheriff, stopping again, said, “ a note written in the same hand as the text, and the first signature," and he read,
“Of three men of the crew, the skipper having been swept off by a wave, there remains but two, and these have signed, Galdeazun; Ave Maria, Thief."
The sheriff, commingling reading and interruptions, continued, “At the bottom of the sheet is written,'
“At sea, on board of the Matutina, barque, of Biscay, from the Gulf de Pasages." "This sheet,' added the sheriff, 'is a legal document, bearing the mark of King James the Second, On the margin of this declaration, and in the same writing, there is this note : ' “ The present declaration is written by us on the back of the "royal order, which was given us as our receipt when we bought the child.
66 Turn the leaf and look at the order."
The sheriff turned the parchment, and raised it in his right hand, to expose it to the light.
A white page was seen, if the word white could be applied to a thing so mouldy, and in the middle of the page three words were written, two words in Latin, Jussu regis, and a signature, Jefferies.
"Jussu regis, Jefferies," said the sheriff, passing from a grave voice ·to a clear one.
Gwynplaine was ás a man on whose head has fallen a tile from the palace of dreams.
He began to speak, like one speaking unconsciously.
“ Gernardus, yes, the doctor. An old, sad looking man.' I was afraid of him. Gaizdorra, Captain, that means 'chief. There were women, Asuncion, and the other, and then the Provençal. His name was Capgaroupe. He used to drink out of a flat bottle on , which there was a name written in red."
“Behold it," said the sheriff.
He placed on the table a thing which the secretary had just taken out of the bag. It was a gourd, with handles like ears, covered with wicker. This bottle had evidently seen service, and had sojourned in the water. Shells and seaweed adhered to it. It
was encrusted and patterned over with all the rust of ocean. There was a ring of tar round its neck, indicating that it had been hermetically sealed. Now it was unsealed and open. They had, however, replaced in the flask a sort of bung made of tarred rigging, which had been used to cork it.
" It was in this bottle,” said the sheriff," that the men about to perish shut up the declaration which I have just read. This message addressed to Justice has been faithfully delivered by the sea."
The sheriff increased the majesty of his tones, and continued,
“In the same way that Harrow Hill produces excellent wheat, which is turned into fine flour for the royal table, so the sea renders every service in its power to England; and when a nobleman is lost, finds and restores him."
Then he resumed, “On this flask, in fact, there is a name written in red.” And, raising his voice, and turning to the motionless prisoner,
“ Your name, malefactor, is here. Such are the hidden channels by which truth, swallowed up in the gulf of human actions, floats to the surface."
The sheriff took the gourd, and turned to the light one of its sides, which had been cleaned probably for the ends of justice. Between the interstices of wicker was a narrow line of red reed, blackened here and there by the action of water and of time."
This rush, notwithstanding some breakages, traced distinctly in the wicker-work these twelve letters-Hardquanonne.
Then the sheriff, resuming that monotonous tone of voice which resembles nothing else, and which may be termed a judicial accent, turned towards the sufferer.
“ Hardquanonne! when by us, the sheriff, this bottle, on which is your name, was forthe first time shown, exhibited, and presented to you, you at once, and willingly, recognised it as having belonged to you. Then, the parchment being read to you which was contained in it, folded and shut up, you would say no more ; and in the hope, doubtless, that the lost child would never be recovered, and that you would escape punishment, you refused to answer. As the result of this refusal, you have had applied to you the peine forte et dure; and the second reading of the said parchment, on which is written the declaration and confession of your accomplices, was made to you —but in vain.
“ This is the fourth day, and that which is legally set apart for the confrontation, and he who was deserted on the twenty-ninth of January, one thousand six hundred and ninety, having been
brought into your presence, your devilish hope has vanished, you have broken silence, and recognised your victim."
The prisoner opened his eyes, lifted his head, and, with a voice strangely resonant of agony, which yet had an indescribable calm mixed with its hoarseness, pronounced in excruciating accents under that mass of stones, words for each of which it was necessary to lift what was like the covering of a tomb placed upon him.
He began to speak,
“I swore to keep the secret. I kept it as long as I could. Surly men are faithful. Hell has its honour. Now, silence is useless. So let it be! For this reason I speak. Well-yes; 'tis he! We did it between use the king and I! The king, by his will ; I, by
my art !"
And looking at Gwynplaine, -
This second laugh, wilder yet than the first, might have been mistaken for a sob.
The laugh ceased, and the man lay back. His eyelids closed.
“Hardquanonne, by the terms of the law, after confrontation followed by identification : after the third reading of the declarations of your accomplices, since confirmed by your recognition and confession; after renewed avowal, you are about to be relieved from these irons, and placed at the good pleasure of her majesty to be hung as plagiary."
“ Plagiary," said the sergeant of the coif. That is to say, a buyer and seller of children. Law of the Visigoths, seventh book, third heading, paragraph Usurpaverit; and Salic law, heading forty-one, paragraph second, and the law of the Frisons, heading twenty-one, Deplagio; and Alexander Nequam says,
Qui pueros vendis plagiarius est tibi nomen.' The sheriff placed the parchment on the table, took off his glasses, repossessed himself of the nosegay, and said,
“End of la peine forte et dure. Hardquanonne, thank her majesty."
By a sign the justice of the quorum set in motion the man dressed in leather.
This man, who was the executioner's servant, groom of the gibbet, as old charters call him, went to the prisoner, and took off one by
one the stones from his chest, and lifted the plate of iron up, showing the crushed ribs of the miserable man. Then he freed his wrists and ankle-bones from the four chains that fastened him to the pillars.
The prisoner, released alike from stones and chains, remained flat on the earth, his eyes shut, his arms and legs apart, like a crucified man taken down from a cross.
Hardquanonne,” said the sheriff, “arise !” The prisoner did not move.
The groom of the gibbet took up a hand and let it go; the hand fell. The other hand being raised, did likewise.
The groom of the gibbet seized one foot and then the other, and the heels feel back on the ground.
The fingers remained inert, and the toes motionless. The naked feet of a corpse lying down have an indescribable appearance of bristling
The doctor approaching drew from the pocket of his robe a little mirror of steel, and put it before the open mouth of Hardquanonne. Then with his fingers he opened the lids. They did not close again. The glassy eyeballs remained fixed.
The doctor stood up and said, -
“ 'Tis of little consequence," said the sheriff. " After confession, life or death is merely a formality."
Then, designating Hardquanonne by a gesture with his bouquet of roses, the sheriff
this order to the wapentake,“The corpse to be carried out from hence to-night." The wapentake obeyed by an inclination of his head. And the sheriff added,“ The prison cemetery opposite.” The wapentake bowed again.
The sheriff, holding in his left hand the bouquet and in his right the white wand, placed himself opposite Gwynplaine, who remained seated, and made him a low bow; then, taking up another solemn attitude, turning his head over his shoulder and looking Gwynplaine in the face, he said,
“To you here present, we, Philip Denzill Parsons, knight, sheriff of the county of Surrey, assisted by Aubrey Dominick, Esq., our clerk and secretary, and our ordinary officers duly provided by the direct and special commands of her majesty, in virtue of our