Page:Crainquebille, Putois, Riquet and other profitable tales, 1915.djvu/36

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22
CRAINQUEBILLE

officer of the Legion of Honour, chief physician at the Ambroise-Paré Hospital, a gentleman and a prince of science, cried: ‘Mort aux vaches,’ then we are forced to believe that Matra is obsessed, and if the term be not too strong, suffering from the mania of persecution.

“And even if Crainquebille did cry: ‘Mort aux vaches,’ it remains to be proved whether such words on his lips can be regarded as an offence. Crainquebille is the natural child of a costermonger, depraved by years of drinking and other evil courses. Crainquebille was born alcoholic. You behold him brutalized by sixty years of poverty. Gentlemen you must conclude that he is irresponsible.”

Maitre Lemerle sat down. Then President Bourriche muttered a sentence condemning Jérôme Crainquebille to pay fifty francs fine and to go to prison for a fortnight. The magistrates convicted him on the strength of the evidence given by Constable Matra.

As he was being taken down the long dark passage of the Palais, Crainquebille felt an intense desire for sympathy. He turned to the municipal guard who was his escort and called him three times:

“’Cipal! … ’cipal! … Eh! ’cipal!” And he sighed: