The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Ohio University Press
Series: Cases of Circumstantial Evidence
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Title Page, Further Reading, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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In The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron Janet Lewis returns to her beloved France, the setting of her best-known novel, The Wife of Martin Guerre. But whereas Martin Guerre is set in the provincial countryside, in the relative quiet of the sixteenth century, Monsieur Scarron takes the reader right into the center...
The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron
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Jean Larcher, bookbinder, was at supper with his wife and son. The day was Easter Sunday, which in that year of Grace, 1694, the fifty-first year of the reign of Louis XIV, fell upon the eleventh of April. They sat about a table spread with white linen in one of the four rooms which he rented in an old building in...
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That same evening a little before sundown Paul Damas came upon the great Place des Victoires. He had not been searching for it; he had, in fact, been lost. But, working his way through a tangle of narrow and evil-smelling little streets, he emerged suddenly upon the clarity and spacious symmetry of...
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“Our Father who art at Marly,” went the paternoster of the Ballad Singer. But the King was not at Marly on that Easter night, nor at any of the other châteaux where he sometimes went for relaxation. He was at Versailles. He had returned there at the beginning of Holy Week to perform his part in...
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Paul Damas, the morning after Easter, woke to a timeless moment and did not know where he was. The voice which wakened him was familiar, yet he could not place it. He lay so far beneath the surface of consciousness that, although he heard the voice, he could not reply....
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Monsieur found his wife writing letters. At her feet was a basket of honey-colored Spaniel puppies. About her shoulders, over her dressing gown, was an old fur pelerine which she had brought with her years ago, at the time of their marriage, from the Palatinate. Her hair, uncovered, had not yet been...
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That Monday night in Paris, Paul Damas and Nicolas Larcher walked for a long time on the Mail between the river and the Arsenal. The stars came out in pale clusters above the clotted new leaves of the elms; the smell of the river dominated and then obliterated the various scents...
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The title of the pamphlet as the King had given it to Monsieur de Pontchartrain had already been sent to the rue St.-Jacques to be added to the list of proscribed publications which Denis Thierry printed for the King. La Reynie, having examined the pamphlet, sent further identifying information, such as the...
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It was almost noon of the following Monday, April the nineteenth, before La Reynie’s men brought their search to the rue des Lions. Paul and Nicolas were alone in the bindery; it was the first time since Paul’s hiring that such a situation had occurred. They both worked steadily, but a little while after...
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It had been agreed that Nicolas would pay his own way on his adventure. Therefore, on the morning when at last the boy was to take the coach to Rouen, while he was still packing his portmanteau, it came almost as a shock to have his father place in his hand first a roll of coins sewed tightly in a bit of...
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On the day that Nicolas left for Rouen, Monsieur Robert, Procureur du Roi au Châtelet, paid his usual Monday visit to Monsieur de La Reynie. He passed La Reynie’s barber in the antechamber and found La Reynie himself freshly shaven but still in his dressing gown, writing a letter....
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Jean Larcher and his wife made their pilgrimage on Tuesday morning with the parish of St.-Paul. They marched under a cloudless sky, leaving the rue St.-Paul at eleven and returning to the rue des Lions late in the afternoon, exhausted. Paul Damas accompanied Jean, considering himself more a parishioner...
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The rain continued all that night, and all the next day, and all the day after that. The city was purified as it had not been in months. Pentecost dawned fair on a refreshed world, and on Pentecost it was announced in the churches that on the very day and hour of the descent of the shrine to the cathedral a...
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In the weeks that followed, Marianne learned many deceptions. Most of them were simple. She learned to look at Paul in Jean’s presence so that her feeling was not visible in her face. She learned to accept with pride, knowing the reason, Paul’s disregard of her when they were not alone together; and...
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“Since my mother is very infirm because of her advancing age, in order to spare her fatigue, I permit myself the honor of answering your inquiry regarding your son. Unfortunately we were unable to give him employment since our business is small and Monsieur Jean Dumesnil, who is my mother’s...
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The calm pleasure which he had experienced in the walled garden with the beehives deceived Paul. Tasting the sweetness of the honey, looking at Marianne, he had felt in control of himself and of his passion. He had substituted one sensuous delight for another, and he had flattered his self-love by...
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On Monday morning, however, Paul showed up for work at his usual hour. He appeared a little grey and tired, as if he had not slept well the night before. At noon, when he sat down to eat with Marianne and Jean, he was as courteous as ever to his master’s wife, and more than ever interested in...
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By the next morning she was recovered physically. The swelling was imperceptible. The hole in her jaw no longer bled. No one would have suspected, to look at her, the ordeal of the day before. The sense of desolation remained, however. She was as firm as ever in her resolution to have nothing...
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Paul made his preparations. They were simple. He bought a chisel on Wednesday on his way home from work. On Thursday evening he sauntered toward Les Halles, and outside the charnelhouses of the Innocents he found what he wanted, a scribe, to whom he dictated a letter. He mailed the letter...
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The wind which had driven the rain ended by clearing the sky. The gutters ran with water for a while, and water dripped from the eaves. At dusk the streets filled with the usual evening mist. After supper in the rue des Lions, Marianne said to Jean:...
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The book trade of Lyon and that of Rouen were perpetually under suspicion. Both cities had chalked up against them, since the beginning of the reign, a long list of offenses. Lyon in especial, being so near the frontier, and Rouen, a harbor city and once the home of many Huguenots, were also suspect at...
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Marianne stood outside the doors of the Grand Châtelet, dazed, and tried to think which way to turn to regain the Place de Grève. It was broad daylight. She judged the hour to be sometime after noon, but the long wait, the penumbra of the candlelighted room, the twisting passages through which...
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Jacques Têtu suffered a severe migraine on the afternoon of September twenty-fifth. He had wished to attend complines at the cathedral; instead he attended vespers at St.-Paul, which was so near his dwelling. Returning from the service, he declined the supper which his housekeeper had prepared for...
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At the end of a week the abbé had not yet written his letter. Neither had he abandoned altogether the thought of writing it. He had given a promise, and although for sufficient reasons he could have absolved himself of the promise, the reasons he mustered were not, to his scrupulous mind, sufficient....
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The mild October weather which piled the sunny leaves in the forest of Fontainebleau, did not prevent an increase of illness in the city. Even before the first of October the fear of contagion had become so great that certain ladies requested to be excused from attending Mass in the churches. The Archbishop...
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On the eighteenth of October, late in the afternoon, a carriage from Rouen drove east upon the rue St.-Antoine and stopped at the narrow entry to the Bastille. The driver showed his papers, the gate was opened for him and his vehicle, and closed behind them. At the end of the passage he made a sharp turn to...
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Allhallows came and went. The churches were hung with black, the candles burned for the dead, and in the white frost of early morning the footsteps of those who approached the churches were printed in black, at first singly, then overlapping each other repeatedly until all individual prints were merged....
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At six o’clock the wind descended upon the Place de Grève in gusts that shook the torches at the foot of the gibbet. The mass of the cathedral, seen broadside from the Place, rising above the crowded roofs on the Ile de la Cité, cut a straight dark line against the sky beneath the darkness of the clouds....
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The Tour de la Chapelle received the morning sunlight, whenever the day began with sunlight. It stood above the city fosse and the garden of Monsieur de Baismaux on the apron of the fortifications. The roofs and spires of the faubourg St.-Antoine would have been visible for those within...
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On the twentieth of December there was to be another hanging. A little before six a crowd gathered before the Grand Châtelet. The gallows was set up in the Place de Grève. It was assumed that two men were to die, and both for having been involved in the publication and distribution of libels. No one...
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The January day had been dark and overcast. At noon a few flakes of snow had straggled downward from the heavy clouds and been trodden into the muddy slush which filled the streets of London. On the day of Queen Mary’s funeral other such desultory and random flakes had fallen upon the gold...
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There were endless details to be ruled upon before the talks for peace could begin. Charles the Eleventh of Sweden was dead in April of that year, and all the world knew it, but it was the middle of June before the Swedish moderator, having put his retinue, his carriages, his horses and all into black trappings,...
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The French coast appeared toward evening as the clouds lifted. It appeared with the colors of a pearl, pinkish, white, faintly green and flecked with pale gold, as if all the colors might be the effect of the late sunlight. It was the Norman coast above Le Havre, and the pink, Nicolas knew, was the...
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All that Nicolas was certain of, as he stood once more in the street, was that the head had not denied that Damas lodged there, behind that closed door. A succession of closed doors, a succession of postponements, of disappointments, of being sent from one person to another, acquiring from each person...
Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Cases of Circumstantial Evidence