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The Crime of the Boulevard   By: (1840-1913)

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The Crime of The Boulevard


By JULES CLARETIE Member of the French Academy




R. F. FENNO & COMPANY Eighteen East Seventeenth Street :: NEW YORK

Copyright, 1897 BY R. F. FENNO & COMPANY

The Crime of the Boulevard



"WHERE does Bernardet live?"

"At the passage to the right Yes, that house which you see with the grating and the garden behind it."

The man to whom a passer by had given this information hurried away in the direction pointed out; although gasping for breath, he tried to run, in order to more quickly reach the little house at the end of the passage of the Elysée des Beaux Arts. This passage, a sort of cul de sac, on either side of which were black buildings, strange old houses, and dilapidated storehouses, opened upon a boulevard filled with life and movement; with people promenading; with the noise of tramways; with gaiety and light.

The man wore the dress and had the bearing of a workman. He was very short, very fat, and his bald head was bared to the warm October rain. He was a workman, in truth, who labored in his concierge lodge, making over and mending garments for his neighbors, while his wife looked after the house, swept the staircases, and complained of her lot.

Mme. Moniche found life hard and disagreeable, and regretted that it had not given her what it promised when, at eighteen, and very pretty, she had expected something better than to watch beside a tailor bent over his work in a concierge's lodge. Into her life a tragedy had suddenly precipitated itself, and Mme. Moniche found, that day, something to brighten up her afternoon. Entering a moment before, the apartment occupied by M. Rovère, she had found her lodger lying on his back, his eyes fixed, his arms flung out, with a gash across his throat!

M. Rovère had lived alone in the house for many years, receiving a few mysterious persons. Mme. Moniche looked after his apartment, entering by using her own key whenever it was necessary; and her lodger had given her permission to come there at any time to read the daily papers.

Mme. Moniche hurried down the stairs.

"M. Rovère is dead! M. Rovère has been murdered! His throat has been cut! He has been assassinated!" And, pushing her husband out of the door, she exclaimed:

"The police! Go for the police!"

This word "police" awakened in the tailor's mind, not the thought of the neighboring Commissary, but the thought of the man to whom he felt that he ought to appeal, whom he ought to consult. This man was the good little M. Bernardet, who passed for a man of genius of his kind, at the Sureté, and for whom Moniche had often repaired coats and rehemmed trousers.

From the mansion in the Boulevard de Clichy, where Moniche lived, to M. Bernardet's house, was but a short distance, and the concierge knew the way very well, as he had often been there. But the poor man was so stupefied, so overwhelmed, by the sudden appearance of his wife in his room, by the brutal revelation which came to him as the blow of a fist, by the horrible manner of M. Rovère's death, that he lost his head. Horrified, breathless, he asked the first passer by where Bernardet lived, and he ran as fast as he could in the direction pointed out.

Arrived at the grating, the worthy man, a little confused, stopped short... Continue reading book >>

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