List Of Contents | Contents of Joan of Naples, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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Pace tied to the rope, when to the great disappointment of all he
declared that he would confess everything, and asked accordingly to
be taken back before his judges.  At these words, the Count of
Terlizzi, who was following every movement of the two men with mortal
anxiety, thought it was all over now with him and his accomplices;
and so, when Tommaso Pace was turning his steps towards the great
hall, led by two guards, his hands tied behind his back, and followed
by the notary, he contrived to take him into a secluded house, and
squeezing his throat with great force, made him thus put his tongue
out, whereupon he cut it off with a sharp razor.

The yells of the poor wretch so cruelly mutilated fell on the ears of
the Duke of Durazzo: he found his way into the room where the
barbarous act had been committed just as the Count of Terlizzi was
coming out, and approached the notary, who had been present at the
dreadful spectacle and had not given the least sign of fear or
emotion.  Master Nicholas, thinking the same fate was in store for
him, turned calmly to the duke, saying with a sad smile--

"My lord, the precaution is useless; there is no need for you to cut
out my tongue, as the noble count has done to my poor companion.  The
last scrap of my flesh may be torn off without one word being dragged
from my mouth.  I have promised, my lord, and you have the life of my
wife and the future of my children as guarantee for my word."

"I do not ask for silence," said the duke solemnly; "you can free me
from all my enemies at once, and I order you to denounce them at the

The notary bowed his head with mournful resignation; then raising it
in affright, made one step up to the duke and murmured in a choking

"And the queen?"

"No one would believe you if you ventured to denounce her; but when
the Catanese and her son, the Count of Terlizzi and his wife and her
most intimate friends, have been accused by you, when they fail to
endure the torture, and when they denounce her unanimously---"

"I see, my lord.  You do not only want my life; you would have my
soul too.  Very well; once more I commend to you my children."

With a deep sigh he walked up to the tribunal.  The chief-justice
asked Tommaso Pace the usual questions, and a shudder of horror
passed through the assembly when they saw the poor wretch in
desperation opening his mouth, which streamed with blood.  But
surprise and terror reached their height when Nicholas of Melazzo
slowly and firmly gave a list of Andre's murderers, all except the
queen and the princes of the blood, and went on to give all details
of the assassination.

Proceedings were at once taken for the arrest of the grand seneschal,
Robert of Cabane, and the Counts of Terlizzi and Morcone, who were
present and had not ventured to make any movement in self-defence.
An hour later, Philippa, her two daughters, and Dona Cancha joined
them in prison, after vainly imploring the queen's protection.
Charles and Bertrand of Artois, shut up in their fortress of Saint
Agatha, bade defiance to justice, and several others, among them the
Counts of Meleto and Catanzaro, escaped by flight.

As soon as Master Nicholas said he had nothing further to confess,
and that he had spoken the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the
chief-justice pronounced sentence amid a profound silence; and 1897
without delay Tommaso Pace and the notary were tied to the tails of
two horses, dragged through the chief streets of the town, and hanged
in the market place.

The other prisoners were thrown into a subterranean vault, to be
questioned and put to the torture on the following day.  In the
evening, finding themselves in the same dungeon, they reproached one
another, each pretending he had been dragged into the crime by
someone else.  Then Dona Cancha, whose strange character knew no
inconsistencies, even face to face with death and torture, drowned
with a great burst of laughter the lamentations of her companions,
and joyously exclaimed--

"Look here, friends, why these bitter recriminations--this ill--
mannered raving?  We have no excuses to make, and we are all equally
guilty.  I am the youngest of all, and not the ugliest, by your
leave, ladies, but if I am condemned, at least I will die cheerfully.
For I have never denied myself any pleasure I could get in this
world, and I can boast that much will be forgiven me, for I have
loved much: of that you, gentlemen, know something.  You, bad old
man," she continued to the Count of Terlizzi, "do you not remember
lying by my side in the queen's ante-chamber?  Come, no blushes
before your noble family; confess, my lord, that I am with child by
your Excellency; and you know how we managed to make up the story of
poor Agues of Durazzo and her pregnancy--God rest her soul!  For my
part, I never supposed the joke would take such a serious turn all at
once.  You know all this and much more; spare your lamentations, for,
by my word, they are getting very tiresome: let us prepare to die
joyously, as we have lived."

With these words she yawned slightly, and, lying down on the straw,
fell into a deep sleep, and dreamed as happy dreams as she had ever
dreamed in her life.

On the morrow from break of day there was an immense crowd on the sea
front.  During the night an enormous palisade had been put up to keep
the people away far enough for them to see the accused without
hearing anything.  Charles of Durazzo, at the head of a brilliant
cortege of knights and pages, mounted on a magnificent horse, all in
black, as a sign of mourning, waited near the enclosure.  Ferocious
joy shone in his eyes as the accused made their way through the
crowd, two by two, their wrists tied with ropes; for the duke every
minute expected to hear the queen's name spoken.  But the chief-
justice, a man of experience, had prevented indiscretion of any kind
by fixing a hook in the tongue of each one.  The poor creatures were
tortured on a ship, so that nobody should hear the terrible
confessions their sufferings dragged from them.

But Joan, in spite of the wrongs that most of the conspirators had
done her, felt a renewal of pity for the woman she had once respected
as a mother, for her childish companions and her friends, and
possibly also some remains of love for Robert of Cabane, and sent two
messengers to beg Bertram de Baux to show mercy to the culprits.  But
the chief-justice seized these men and had them tortured; and on
their confession that they also were implicated in Andre's murder, he
condemned them to the same punishment as the others.  Dona Cancha
alone, by reason of her situation, escaped the torture, and her
sentence was deferred till the day of her confinement.

As this beautiful girl was returning to prison, with many a smile for
all the handsomest cavaliers she could see in the crowd, she gave a
sign to Charles of Durazzo as she neared him to come forward, and
since her tongue had not been pierced (for the same reason) with an
iron instrument, she said some words to him a while in a low voice.

Charles turned fearfully pale, and putting his hand to his sword,

"Wretched woman!"

"You forget, my lord, I am under the protection of the law."

"My mother!--oh, my poor mother!  "murmured Charles in a choked
voice, and he fell backward.

The next morning the people were beforehand with the executioner,
loudly demanding their prey.  All the national troops and mercenaries
that the judicial authorities could command were echelonned in the
streets, opposing a sort of dam to the torrent of the raging crowd.
The sudden insatiable cruelty that too often degrades human nature
had awaked in the populace: all heads were turned with hatred and
frenzy; all imaginations inflamed with the passion for revenge;
groups of men and women, roaring like wild beasts, threatened to
knock down the walls of the prison, if the condemned were not handed
over to them to take to the place of punishment: a great murmur
arose, continuous, ever the same, like the growling of thunder: the
queen's heart was petrified with terror.

But, in spite of the desire of Bertram de Baux to satisfy the popular
wish, the preparations for the solemn execution were not completed
till midday, when the sun's rays fell scorchingly upon the town.
There went up a mighty cry from ten thousand palpitating breasts when
a report first ran through the crowd that the prisoners were about to
appear.  There was a moment of silence, and the prison doors rolled
slowly back on their hinges with a rusty, grating noise.  A triple
row of horsemen, with lowered visor and lance in rest, started the
procession, and amid yells and curses the condemned prisoners came
out one by one, each tied upon a cart, gagged and naked to the waist,
in charge of two executioners, whose orders were to torture them the
whole length of their way.  On the first cart was the former
laundress of Catana, afterwards wife of the grand seneschal and
governess to the queen, Philippa of Cabane: the two executioners at
right and left of her scourged her with such fury that the blood
spurting up from the wounds left a long track in all the streets
passed by the cortege.

Immediately following their mother on separate carts came the
Countesses of Terlizzi and Morcone, the elder no more than eighteen
years of age.  The two sisters were so marvellously beautiful that in
the crowd a murmur of surprise was heard, and greedy eyes were fixed
upon their naked trembling shoulders.  But the men charged to torture
them gazed with ferocious smiles upon their forms of seductive
beauty, and, armed with sharp knives, cut off pieces of their flesh
with a deliberate enjoyment and threw them out to the crowd, who
eagerly struggled to get them, signing to the executioners to show
which part of the victims' bodies they preferred.

Robert of Cabane, the grand seneschal, the Counts of Terlizzi and
Morcone, Raymond Pace, brother of the old valet who had been executed
the day before, and many more, were dragged on similar carts, and
both scourged with ropes and slashed with knives; their flesh was

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