List Of Contents | Contents of Derues, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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asked what this malady might be, he answered with hypocritical

"Do not ask, madame; there are things of which you do not know even
the name."

At another time, Martin expressed his surprise that the young man's
mother had not yet appeared, who, according to Derues, was to have
met him at Versailles.  He asked how she could know that they were
lodging in his house, and if he should send to meet her at any place
where she was likely to arrive.

"His mother," said Derues, looking compassionately at Edouard, who
lay pale, motionless, and as if insensible,--"his mother!  He calls
for her incessantly.  Ah! monsieur, some families are greatly to be
pitied!  My entreaties prevailed on her to decide on coming hither,
but will she keep her promise?  Do not ask me to tell you more; it is
too painful to have to accuse a mother of having forgotten her duties
in the presence of her son .  .  .  there are secrets which ought not
to be told--unhappy woman!"

Edouard moved, extended his arms, and repeated, "Mother!  .  .  .

Derues hastened to his side and took his hands in his, as if to warm

"My mother!" the youth repeated.  "Why have I not seen her?  She was
to have met me."

You shall soon see her, dear boy; only keep quiet."

"But just now I thought she was dead."

"Dead!" cried Derues.  "Drive away these sad thoughts.  They are
caused by the fever only."

"No!  oh no! .  .  .  I heard a secret voice which said, 'Thy mother
is dead!' .  .  .  And then I beheld a livid corpse before me .  .  .
It was she! .  .  .  I knew her well! and she seemed to have suffered
so much----"

"Dear boy, your mother is not dead .  .  .  .  My God! what terrible
chimeras you conjure up!  You will see her again, I assure you; she
has arrived already.  Is it not so, madame?" he asked, turning
towards the Martins, who were both leaning against the foot of the
bed, and signing to them to support this pious falsehood, in order to
calm the young man.  "Did she not arrive and come to his bedside and
kiss him while he slept, and she will soon come again?"

"Yes, yes," said Madame Martin, wiping her eyes; "and she begged my
husband and me to help your uncle to take great care of you--"

The youth moved again, and looking round him with a dazed expression,
said, "My uncle--?"

"You had better go," said Derues in a whisper to the Martins.  "I am
afraid he is delirious again; I will prepare a draught, which will
give him a little rest and sleep."

"Adieu, then, adieu," answered Madame Martin; "and may Heaven bless
you for the care you bestow on this poor young man!"

On Friday evening violent vomiting appeared to have benefited the
sufferer.  He had rejected most of the poison, and had a fairly quiet
night.  But on the Saturday morning Derues sent the cooper's little
girl to buy more medicine, which he prepared, himself, like the
first.  The day was horrible, and about six in the evening, seeing
his victim was at the last gasp, he opened a little window
overlooking the shop and summoned the cooper, requesting him to go at
once for a priest.  When the latter arrived he found Derues in tears,
kneeling at the dying boy's bedside.  And now, by the light of two
tapers placed on a table, flanking the holy water-stoup, there began
what on one side was an abominable and sacrilegious comedy, a
disgraceful parody of that which Christians consider most sacred and
most dear; on the other, a pious and consoling ceremony.  The cooper
and his wife, their eyes bathed in tears, knelt in the middle of the
room, murmuring such prayers as they could remember.

Derues gave up his place to the priest, but as Edouard did not answer
the latter's questions, he approached the bed, and bending over the
sufferer, exhorted him to confession.

"Dear boy," he said, "take courage; your sufferings here will be
counted to you above: God will weigh ahem in the scales of His
infinite mercy.  Listen to the words of His holy minister, cast your
sins into His bosom, and obtain from Him forgiveness for your

"I am in such terrible pain!" cried Edouard.  "Water! water!
Extinguish the fire which consumes me!"

A violent fit came on, succeeded by exhaustion and the death-rattle.
Derues fell on his knees, and the priest administered extreme
unction.  There was then a moment of absolute silence, more
impressive than cries and sobs.  The priest collected himself for a
moment, crossed himself, and began to pray.  Derues also crossed
himself, and repeated in a low voice, apparently choked by grief

"Go forth, O Christian soul, from this world, in the name of God the
Father Almighty, who created thee; in the name of Jesus Christ, the
Son of the living God, who suffered for thee; in the name of the Holy
Ghost, who was poured out upon thee."

The youth struggled in his bed, and a convulsive movement agitated
his limbs.  Derues continued--

"When thy soul departs from this body may it be admitted to the holy
Mountain of Sion, to the Heavenly Jerusalem, to the numerous company
of Angels, and to the Church of the First-born, whose names are
written in Heaven----"

"Mother!  .  .  .  My mother!" cried Edouard.  Derues resumed--

"Let God arise, and let the Powers of Darkness be dispersed!  let the
Spirits of Evil, who reign over the air, be put to flight; let them
not dare to attack a soul redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus

"Amen," responded the priest and the Martins.

There was another silence, broken only by the stifled sobs of Derues.
The priest again crossed himself and took up the prayer.

"We beseech Thee, O beloved and only Son of God, by the merits of Thy
sacred Passion, Thy Cross and Thy Death, to deliver this Thy servant
from the pains of Hell, and to lead him to that happy place whither
Thou didst vouchsafe to lead the thief, who, with Thee, was bound
upon the Cross: Thou, who art God, living and reigning with the
Father and the Holy Ghost."

"Amen," repeated those present.  Derues now took up the prayer, and
his voice mingled with the dying gasps of the sufferer.

"And there was a  darkness over all the earth----

"To Thee, O Lord, we commend the soul of this Thy servant, that,
being dead to the world, he may, live to Thee: and the sins he hath
committed through the frailty of his mortal nature, do Thou in Thy
most merciful goodness, forgive and wash away.  Amen."

After which all present sprinkled holy water on the body....

When the priest had retired, shown out by Madame Martin, Derues said
to her husband--

"This unfortunate young man has died without the consolation of
beholding his mother....  His last thought was for her.... There now
remains the last duty, a very painful one to accomplish, but my poor
nephew imposed it on me.  A few hours ago, feeling that his end was
near, he asked me, as a last mark of friendship, not to entrust these
final duties to the hands of strangers."

While he applied himself to the necessary work in presence of the
cooper, who was much affected by the sight of such sincere and
profound affliction, Derues added, sighing--

"I shall always grieve for this dear boy.  Alas! that evil living
should have caused his early death!"

When he had finished laying out the body, he threw some little
packets into the fire which he professed to have found in the youth's
pockets, telling  Martin, in order to support this assertion, that
they contained drugs suitable to this disgraceful malady.

He spent the night in the room with the corpse, as he had done in the
case of Madame de Lamotte, and the next day, Sunday, he sent Martin
to the parish church of St. Louis, to arrange for a funeral of the
simplest kind; telling him to fill up the certificate in the name of
Beaupre, born at Commercy, in Lorraine.  He declined himself either
to go to the church or to appear at the funeral, saying that his
grief was too great.  Martin, returning from the funeral, found him
engaged in prayer.  Derues gave him the dead youth's clothes and
departed, leaving some money to be given to the poor of the parish,
and for masses to be said for the repose of the soul of the dead.

He arrived at home in the evening, found his wife entertaining some
friends; and told them he had just come from Chartres, where he had
been summoned on business.  Everyone noticed his unusual air of
satisfaction, and he sang several songs during supper.

Having accomplished these two crimes, Derues did not remain idle.
When the murderer's part of his nature was at rest, the thief
reappeared.  His extreme avarice now made him regret the expense'
caused by the deaths of Madame de Lamotte and her son, and he wished
to recoup himself.  Two days after his return from Versailles, he
ventured to present himself at Edouard's school.  He told the master
that he had received a letter from Madame de Lamotte, saying that she
wished to keep her son, and asking him to obtain Edouard's
belongings.  The schoolmaster's wife, who was present, replied that
that could not be; that Monsieur de Lamotte would have known of his
wife's intention; that she would not have taken such a step without
consulting him; and that only the evening before, they had received a
present of game from Buisson-Souef, with a letter in which Monsieur
de Lamotte entreated them to take great, care of his son.

"If what you say is true," she continued, "Madame de Lamotte is no
doubt acting on your advice in taking away her son.  But I will write
to Buisson."

"You had better not do anything in the matter;" said Derues, turning
to the schoolmaster.  "It is quite possible that Monsieur de Lamotte
does not know.  I am aware that his wife does not always consult him.
She is at Versailles, where I took Edouard to her, and I will inform
her of your objection."

To insure impunity for these murders, Derues had resolved on the
death of Monsieur de Lamotte; but before executing this last crime,
he wished for some proof of the recent pretended agreements between
himself and Madame de Lamotte.  He would not wait for the
disappearance of the whole family before presenting himself as the

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