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snake or snakes, they coil themselves up tightly on it, to get the full benefit of the warmth; and I secure them in this position just before I want them, by quietly turning up the flannel all round and reeving a pointed bit of whalebone through it immediately above the snake's body. Thus I have it in a bag of convenient shape, and the smallest possible capacity-as it would be impossible to force it into one of ten times the size; on withdrawing the whalebone, the contained reptile, having found the restraint irksome, is ready to expand to a most astonishing extent. The large ones I generally introduce all together into a hat from the servante or hidden shelf, at the back of a table or chair; while the small ones are concealed, singly or in couples, under the waistcoat, and in the numerous pockets and profondes which go to make up a modern conjurer's dress-coat. Sometimes, when I have not sufficient time beforehand to coax them into bags, I fill the 'gold-fish globes' with them, and use the same india-rubber covers to secure them as are employed in that trick, producing them from under a cloth in precisely the same
profoundly ignorant as he most certainly was of the creatures under his temporary charge. I went into the den with him, taking it for granted, of course, that he was accustomed to snakes, and gave him the box of ointment to hold until I was ready to use it. When I had brought the pythoness fairly down to the floor, I gripped her hard by the neck, which had the effect-as I intended it to have, and as it always has with snakes-of making her open her mouth. I pressed her head away from me at the same time, to prevent her catching hold of any part of my clothing, in her efforts to bite. In her fright and rage, she drew her body up across my back, and twisted her tail round and round my other arm. All that I now required of the keeper was, by teasing or pinching her here and there, or by unwinding the tail when necessary, to cause her to shift her coils constantly, and prevent her resting long enough on one spot to apply undue pressure. My face I could protect for myself with the left hand. This I concluded he understood, as a matter of course. I turned round to make a sign to him to be ready and to give me the ointment, when, judge of my dismay as I caught sight of his stolid face, with a sort of dull impartial interest on it, looking at me through the glass in front, and the door closed on the outside! He had got frightened by the noise of the other pythons, and had quietly gone out again.
I was about to make an impatient gesture, when in that same instant the serpent tightened on me so suddenly and violently that I momentarily lost consciousness. I then found myself staggering about the den, fighting for life. I expected to feel my ribs give way every moment, yet my chief fear at the time was of falling through the glass. I pushed the reptile's head away from me with all my might, lest it should cross my breast, and I can remember catching sight of myself, a mulberry-coloured figure, in the mirror. I knew, too, that I was trampling about over the other pythons, who, furious at the disturbance, were now darting about the den above and all around me in every direction; and I exerted every energy to keep my feet, for I had presence of mind enough left to know that if I went down it would be all over with me. The heat was stifling. I could bear it no longer; the cage spun madly round and round before my eyes, and everything seemed to flame and roar. I let go the head. The snake twisted sharply back over my right shoulder close to my face, but did not bite me, and slid off on to the ground. I just recollect falling against the door with outstretched hands, but nothing more until I found myself sitting on the steps outside, coughing violently, while the phlegmatic keeper was putting a hot key down my back, for some occult reason. I brought up a little blood, and drank a little brandy, after which I soon got better; but I was not well enough to walk home, and the bruise in my side did not fade for many a day. I suppose the whole affair did not last more than a few seconds, but I found it quite long enough. Fortunately, the snake had only a small part of her body across my left side and back; had she encircled me with a whole
In the summer of 1880 I got a nasty squeeze from a big python in the Jardin Zoologique at Antwerp, which laid me up for several days. I had observed this snake, a female, about fourteen feet long, in one of the dens, and from the white efflorescence about her lips, knew that she was suffering from caries of the jaw with ulceration of the mucous membrane, so fatal to snakes in confinement; and having pointed this out to M. Vekemann, the resident Director, I obtained his permission to make trial of an ointment which I believed I had found efficacious in the early stage of the disease among my own snakes. The four reptile dens in the lion-house at Antwerp are not so commodious as those in the London Gardens, notably in the absence of proper tanks, but are extremely 'pretty'-lots of artificial rockwork framing a large mirror at the back, which has a very natural effect; so that what the poor snakes lack in water they make up for in looking-glass. I came on the following morning, armed with my ointment; but the lady had betaken herself into a crevice of the rocks, where one could scarcely catch sight of her, much less get at her. There were other pythons in the cage, some of them nearly twenty feet long, some not more than five or six; but though they projected their heads and commenced to hiss, they did not attempt to attack; and the keeper-an intelligent man, who spoke French-said they would not come at us if we did not touch them. A little one jumped harmlessly at my leg as I stepped over him. For three days the pythoness remained in her rocky, or rather plastery retreat; but on the fourth, I caught sight of her at the very top of the cage, and at once climbed up and brought her down. The poor thing's mouth was in a worse state than I had anticipated. She came down quietly enough, and though nervous, was not spiteful, and allowed me to handle
Now, as ill-luck would have it, the regular keeper was absent on this particular morning, and his place was filled for the time by another
Curiously enough, my left arm was quite paralysed, and I did not fully recover the use of it for a week. I did not know it at the time, but she must have pressed her tail under my armpit, and so compressed the nerves. The accident was one of the stupidest and most preventable in the world, and was entirely owing to my taking the wrong man into the cage to assist me. I may add that I went in some days later with the proper keeper, and performed the operation, not only without danger, but without the least difficulty.
That serpents may be discriminatively affectionate towards individuals, beyond the mere instinctive absence of fear, every one who has kept them must know. To those who have not, I should be happy to allow my own pets to prove their case. Can a snake have sufficient intelligence to be jealous? Jealousy is perhaps the nearest approach to a rational attribute, showing some mental process of logical inference or deduction, which animals evince. I don't press the point, but merely give the fact that Totsey, my boa, one of the gentlest and besttempered of snakes, who lives in a cage at perfect peace with two pythons, an anaconda, a ratsnake, a wasp-snake, and several others, will invariably bite them, if I take them up when she is on my shoulder.
With regard to snake-bites, I have had some which were serious enough certainly, of which I may perhaps give an account at some future date, when I publish in detail the experiments in pursuit of which they were voluntarily received.
guilty and sentenced to death! One had been acquitted; but third in the list appeared the name of Antoine Duroc, fisherman, of Honfleur; a rabid Communist, guilty of inciting and leading a mob to attack a military guard, and of rescuing a prisoner under arrest. The condemned were all sentenced to be shot, at noonday, in a fosse in the rear of La Roquette, a prison near the Place Voltaire.
Thus encouraged, Madeleine told everything; and the préfet was convinced that her husband was no Communist, but was the innocent victim of a vile, unprincipled person seeking to gratify his desire for vengeance. Still, he knew not how he could interfere with any good result in behalf of the unfortunate young fisherman. The court-martial was to open at seven o'clock that morning.
In all probability,' he thought, 'the poor man is already condemned and sentenced. A few minutes would suffice for all.'
Antoine's generous impulse, which had led him to release from arrest a youth whom he believed to be innocent, had brought his doom upon him. He did not attempt to deny the fact; and all he could say in extenuation of his guilt was that he believed the poor lad was innocent. The young fisherman's bold, manly appearance, in marked contrast with the aspect of the miserable, ragged, dirty, and generally ill-looking prisoners who were tried at the same time, interested one or two of the younger officers of the court-martial in his favour. One of these young officers severely cross-questioned the witness Lucien Pierrot.
'Who and what are you?' he asked. Can you deny the fact that you are a miserable spy, gaining your livelihood by denouncing and swearing away the lives of your fellow-men?"
'I am in the pay of the government,' replied Lucien. 'I have done my employers good ser
'Silence!' said the President of the courtmartial to the officer. 'The man speaks the truth.-Such wretches, however we may despise them,' he added sotto voce, are necessary evils in such times as these.'
The favourable notice of the younger officers availed Antoine nothing. As we have already
THE FISHERWOMAN OF HONFLEUR. stated, he was condemned and sentenced to death;
A TALE OF THE FRENCH COMMUNE.
and the report of the result of the court-martial
WHEN M. le Sous-préfet entered the breakfast room early the next morning, he found his daughter and Madeleine awaiting him-the latter trembling with doubt and fear, yet kept from utter despair by the young lady's encouraging words.
Now, Madame, tell papa everything,' said Pauline. Do not be afraid. Papa is kind and good, though he is sometimes severe with wicked people.'
Papa, you have heard bad news,' she said, looking into her father's troubled face.
'It has happened as I told you it would, Panline,' replied the préfet. A few hours hence he will be shot!'
'No, papa, no!' exclaimed the young girl, arresting her father's further progress. How can you tell that to his poor young wife? Papa, it must not-shall not be! There is yet time. You are acquainted with Monsieur le Général Beaumont, the President of the court-martial. Hasten to him, papa. Take the poor woman with you. Show Monsieur le Général the mayor's letter; let the young wife tell her own story. Meanwhile, dear papa, I will pray earnestly for your success. But go at once; lose not a moment
'I will go, Pauline,' replied the préfet, after a few moments' thought. I will do my best; but I have faint hope of success. Monsieur le Général
'Monsieur, you have heard bad news,' she faintly gasped. My husband-my beloved Antoine 18 She could not give utterance to the dread word that was on her lips.
It was necessary to acquaint her with what had occurred.
'Is convicted, and sentenced to death; but he may yet be saved,' said the préfet. Be calm, Madame. Do not give way to despair. Bear up bravely. Much now depends upon yourself. Have you strength and courage to accompany me immediately to Monsieur le Général Beaumont, the President of the court-martial that sat this morning?'
'Monsieur, I have strength and courage to go anywhere to do anything to save my poor innocent husband.'
The sympathies of the préfet were now fully aroused. He ordered the horses to be put to his carriage, and bade Madeleine follow him into the courtyard. As she was leaving the room, she threw her arms round Pauline's neck and embraced her. 'Mademoiselle, thou art an angel of goodness!' she murmured. 'If I succeed -and my heart tells me that the good God will grant me success-it will be to thee, under heaven, that my Antoine will owe his life. Thou wilt restore an innocent man to his wife and babe, and wilt save his judges from imbruing their hands in innocent blood.' Then she hastened after the préfet, and entered the carriage-which was already waiting in the courtyard with him.
"Then come with me-come at once, just as you are. You shall plead your husband's cause with the General. Do not hope too much;-But do not tremble, little one. but do not despair of obtaining your husband's pardon.'
harsh with the fair sex.'
on, addressing the secretary, as the sous-préfet, closely followed by the shrinking, trembling Madeleine, entered the office.
'I hope, Monsieur le Général, I do not intrude, in visiting you at so early an hour?' said the préfet.
'Monsieur le Sous-préfet! Show him up instantly. Was there need to announce his visit?'
'Intrude! My good friend, you are welcome at all hours!' replied the General. 'Pray, be seated. I was just saying to Lagrange, when you were announced, that the government is determined to keep us busy. Seventeen fresh arrests this morning in my department; and sixteen scoundrels, whom we tried this morning, will be sent on their long last journey to-day at noon. We make quick work of it! The emissaries of the government-call them spies, traitors, what you will-are active. They are a pack of mean, contemptible rascals, no doubt. But at such times as the present, they are a necessary evil. One Lucien Pierrot-the best bloodhound of the pack, and as base a villain, I believe, as ever drew breath-has alone denounced sixty Communists! 'Twould not be amiss, when the work is done, to send the fellow to Hades, to keep company with the wretches he has hunted to death. But he is an active, useful scoundrel withal- Ha, ha! Whom have we here!'-catching sight of Madeleine, who had crouched down behind the sous-préfet.-A fair follower of yours, eh? We are never
Madeleine shuddered, and her heart sank in her bosom. It seemed to her as if she heard her husband's doom pronounced in the harsh voice of the General, who could jest while he spoke of shedding the blood even of misguided and evil-minded men.
'Monsieur le Général,' said the sous-préfet, this poor woman is the unhappy young wife of the Honfleur fisherman Antoine Duroc, who was among the prisoners tried by court-martial this morning and sentenced to be shot. Monsieur, there is every reason to believe that the poor man is innocent, and that he is the victim of the wretched spy, Lucien Pierrot, of whom you spoke just now '
Instantly the bearing of the General underwent a change. 'Antoine Duroc !' he exclaimed, interrupting the préfet, in a stern tone of voice. 'Ha! I recollect the man; a fine-looking, intelligent, determined young fellow-one of those men who gain influence over the ignorant, poverty-stricken wretches who comprise the great majority of the Communists, and urge them to pillage and murder, and finally to their own destruction. I am amazed, Monsieur, to hear you, of all men, raise a voice in behalf of a condemned Communist-you, whose official position must have taught you that the greatest criminals are, as a rule, loudest in their protestations of innocence. This man Duroc, however, confessed his guilt, and even appeared to feel proud of the part he had taken in freeing a suspected man from arrest. It is such men as Duroc that are
The commissionaire reappeared.
'Well, sir, what now?' said the General.
'Monsieur le Sous-préfet wishes to see your most to be feared, and who are most deserving Excellency.' of punishment.'
Monsieur le Général,' replied the préfet, 'Duroc's confession-of which I have heard-goes far, in my opinion, to prove his innocence of the
fellow believed the prisoner under arrest-a mere lad-to be innocent; and actuated by the generous impulse of the moment, he set the prisoner free. The assertion that Duroc is a Communist is certainly untrue. The young man, who was never in Paris until a day or two ago, does not know the meaning of the term, and has never troubled his head with any political questions. This fact I can prove by means of a letter from Monsieur le Maire of Honfleur, who has known the honest young fisherman from his boyhood. If you, Monsieur, will read the letter I have received, and will hearken to the story of Duroc's heart-broken young wife'
'I will read nothing-hearken to nothing, Monsieur,' interrupted the General, who had listened with angry impatience to the speech of the préfet. The man has been proved guilty; he is a dangerous fellow. I cannot reconsider his case. Besides, even if he has been wrongly sentenced, which I do not believe, there is no time to make further inquiry into the matter. It is now ten o'clock. At noon, two hours hence, the sentence of the court-martial will be carried out'
A wild cry of anguish from Madeleine, who gave way to despair on hearing her husband's doom thus carelessly alluded to, interrupted the remarks of the General. She would have sunk down to the floor had not the préfet supported her in his arms. But instantly recovering from the faintness that was stealing over her, she threw herself on her knees before the stern arbiter of her husband's fate, and tearfully entreated him to listen to her story.
'Rise, rise, young woman,' said the General, though with less sternness in his voice. It is useless to kneel to me. I cannot hearken to such appeals. Were I to hearken to one, I must hearken to others. Besides, as I have told you, it is too late to interfere with a sentence which I believe to have been justly pronounced.' He attempted to assist the weeping young woman to her feet; but heedless of this attempt, Madeleine still kneeling, proceeded to tell the story of the cruel threats and persecutions of Lucien Pierrot; and the General, in spite of himself, was compelled to listen to the tale. She told how it happened that her husband had come to Paris only a few days after his return from a long voyage; that, having heard of the troubles in Paris, she had dreaded some evil would befall him, and had urged him to return as soon as possible; ending by declaring, in words which her earnest and passionate love made eloquent, that the simple-hearted fisherman was incapable of intentional wrong-doing.
The stern General, who listened impatiently at first, gradually became interested in the weeping wife's story, until at length he began to think that the young fisherman might after all possibly be innocent. He read the mayor's letter, which he had hitherto declined to notice, and became more evidently convinced that Madeleine had told the truth, and that her husband was the victim of Lucien Pierrot's designs.
Rise, young woman,' he said in a gentle voice, as he assisted the weeping girl to her feet.
There was a stir outside the office, and the next moment, a commissionaire, breathless with haste,
entered the room. 'Pardon, Monsieur le Général,' gasped the commissionaire, as he handed to the General an official-looking document. 'I bring a letter of the utmost importance from Monsieur le Docteur Veron, Médecin en Chef at the Hôpital Beaujon.'
The General opened the letter, glanced over it, and then read aloud as follows:
MONSIEUR LE GÉNÉRAL BEAUMONT-I have to acquaint your Excellency that Lucien Pierrot, the denouncer and the chief witness against the fisherman Antoine Duroc, who was tried by court-martial this morning, was assassinated by some person, whose friend he had hunted to his doom, almost immediately after he quitted the court. He lived only a few minutes; but during that interval he confessed that, actuated by a craving for revenge, he had sworn falsely against the man Duroc, whom he now declared to be innocent of all the charges preferred against him, save that of rescuing a prisoner whom he believed to be innocent. The spy-pity that the government is compelled to employ such wretches-died in great agony, entreating with his last breath that his confession should be instantly conveyed to Monsieur the President of the court-martial.
(Signed), HENRI VERON, Hôpital Beaujon.
"Thank heaven! My husband's innocence is proved!' exclaimed Madeleine, upraising her clasped hands.
'Save that he rescued from arrest a suspected criminal, Madame,' said the General. 'But I believe that your husband acted in that instance under an impulse of the moment. Yet, I know not how to act. His pardon must be granted by government, and there is no time to make the necessary application. At all events, I will take it upon myself to stay your husband's execution, and will take the necessary measures to have the pardon ratified afterwards. But I fear it is even now too late. The prison of La Roquette is far distant; it is long past ten o'clock, and at noon the sentence of the court-martial will be carried out.'
VAGRANCY AND MENDICANCY. By the courtesy of the editor of The Field we are enabled to reproduce the able remarks on the above subject which appeared in his paper on the 10th of June. The article is as follows:
The Howard Association has published a useful Report [published at sixpence, by Mr S. Harris, bookseller, Bishopsgate Without, London] on the subject of vagrancy and mendicancy, evils which for years past have engaged a great deal of attention. It will perhaps be remembered that the Howard Association was founded for the express purpose of promoting the best methods of treating criminals and preventing crime, and the object of the present Report is the education of the public mind in reference to the causes and prevention of the constantly increasing evils of vagrancy and its attendant consequences. The tolerance, we might almost say the favour, of the
July 22, 1882.]
public is the original source of almost the whole of the evils which are now complained of. Some firmness is needed in rejecting the importunities of those who would persuade us they are starving. Beggars may be relieved, or, as some would say, considered, without due regard for the consequences. In some of the pastoral parishes of Northumberland, vagrancy, according to Sir Charles E. Trevelyan, has become such an intolerable nuisance, that when the labourers are away on distant farms, the women often lock themselves up, or keep loaded guns at hand, as a protection against tramps. In other parts of the country the population is less scattered and better able to protect itself; but in all parts where tramps and mendicants are considered,' in the sense of being tolerated and even encouraged, all other interests must suffer more or less.
The treatment of this particular class criminals, who are invariably guilty of soliciting alms, and are generally thieves and pilferers besides, varies in different parishes, according to the particular views of the local authorities. In some districts the vagrants are received in the casual wards with a hospitality which they highly appreciate. As Earl Stanhope observed in a communication to the Howard Association, the slackmanaged workhouses are crowded with casuals, but, on the contrary, very few beggars visit the strictly managed houses. At Sydenham, in the immediate neighbourhood of London, mendicants have successively flourished and multiplied, or suffered almost complete extinction, according to the treatment. Some years ago the magistracy, the police, and a committee of local residents combined for the purpose of a stringent course of treatment, and the evil was checked. Unfortunately, it has since been again fostered by a course of treatment which, wherever it may be practised, is always successful in multiplying the number of tramps and mendicants.
a dead letter, and that boards of guardians and magistrates should act in unison.
Mr Albert Pell's Bill proposes to increase the efficiency of boards of guardians, by giving them power to detain vagrants for several days' labour in the union workhouses. They ought at anyrate to be detained long enough for legal investigation, and punishment when necessary. But the genuine labourer in search of work should have the means afforded him of proving his identity by presentation of a way-ticket or other pledge of character, so that he may proceed on his way had the opportunity afforded him of proving without detention. If every industrious casual his true character, and if relief were in all cases assured, each case being then immediately investigated by the parish officer, and, if necessary, by the magistrate with a view to punishment when deserved, one of the most pressing causes of indiscriminate alms-giving by the public-the apprehension of a possibility of the destitute being For that starved-would be happily removed. be at once received and at once relieved. reason it may be desirable that any vagrant should
At the same time, it cannot he denied that the number of casuals is invariably regulated by their treatment. The law provides for each a claim to a comfortable lodging, a good bed, a bath, night-clothes, and a meal night and morning; and these comforts might be expected to encourage vagrancy. But some of them are not appreciated. had become a considerable burden, the master In a union in a southern county, where casuals of the workhouse reported that he had very much diminished the number by a rigid enforcement of the bath.' Parliament prescribed 'the tub' with kind intentions, probably; but in practice it is found that casuals regard this test with invariable hostility, especially in the winter. Another hint for the officials is that the morning task of work' prescribed by law should be made a real task. We would point out, too, that in our experience, another most effective 'test' has been applied in the form of solitude. In some districts separate cells have been provided for the vagrants, and the 'house' thus fitted up has been speedily forsaken, in favour of establishments where unrestrained companionship is permitted.
For the purpose of suppressing professional vagrancy, it is absolutely necessary that the duties But neither the law nor the executive can alone of the executive should be sternly performed. deal with the evils of mendicancy, unless they are supported by that portion of the public which is at present addicted to indiscriminate charity. Notwithstanding all the ingenious plans and suggestions of experienced officials or others who have studied the subject of vagrancy and mendicancy, it is reluctantly admitted, even by those who are most sanguine as to the effects of remedial measures, that comparatively little can be accomplished in the way of suppression until the givers of alms are better educated.' They have yet to recognise that they produce the evils which their misplaced charity is intended to mitigate. their eyes were but opened thoroughly to the deceit and wickedness they foster, they would assuredly desist. The truth is that nearly all mendicity is imposition, and the so-called charity
To a partial extent their increase in some districts has been due to agricultural depression. That they have increased in certain localities there can be no doubt. The Report of the Kent Mendicity Society shows that the number of cases of relief granted to casuals at the workhouses in that county during the past six years has gradually increased from forty-six thousand seven hundred and thirty-two to one hundred and forty-four thousand eight hundred and sixty-one per annum. But as a rule, mendicity and vagrancy are professions' not very much influenced by the state of the labour-market, and they are, under all ordinary circumstances, capable of suppression, or at any rate of being kept under reasonable limits. Lenient as the law may be, its stricter administration would suffice for the discouragement of paupers to an extent which only the initiated seem at present to recognise. So far as the magistrates are concerned, little, if any, additional legislation is perhaps required, though it is