Two gendarmes, detailed to discover the woman Bryond, succeeded in tracking her to Pannier's. There a discussion is held; and these men, unworthy of the trust reposed in them, instead of arresting the woman Bryond, succumb to her seductions.
The creditors, who supposed, from Madame Lechantre's orderly and frugal way of living, that she had capital laid by, were deceived in their expectations, and they then began suits which revealed the precarious financial condition of Bryond.
Pannier was the right hand of Rifoel, the depositary of the secrets of the counter-revolutionary party of the West; he regretted that Rifoel introduced women into the plot and confided in them; it was he who received the stolen money from the woman Bryond and conveyed it to Rifoel. As for the conduct of the two gendarmes Ratel and Mallet, it deserves the severest penalty of the law.
They betrayed their duty. One of them, foreseeing his fate, committed suicide, but not until he had made important revelations. The other, Mallet, denies nothing, his tacit admissions preclude all doubt, especially as to the guilt of the woman Bryond. The woman Lechantre, in spite of her constant denials, was privy to all.
On arriving at Saint-Savin, the women Lechantre and Bryond heard of the arrest of Bourget, that of the driver of the diligence, and that of the two refractories.
Through him Bryond was able to penetrate once more into the secrets of that party which has misunderstood both the glory of H.M. the Emperor Napoleon I. and the true interests of the nation united in his august person.
Pannier, the former treasurer of the rebels, concealed the woman Bryond in his house; he is one of the most dangerous accomplices of this crime, which he knew from its inception. In him certain mysterious relations which are still obscure took their rise; the authorities now have these matters under investigation.
The woman Lechantre receives these sums at Mortagne; and, on receipt of a letter from her daughter, removes them to Saint-Savin, where the woman Bryond now returns. This is not the moment to examine as to whether the woman Lechantre had any anterior knowledge of the plot.
The hypocrisy of this woman, who attempts to shelter her assumed innocence under the mask of a false piety, has certain antecedents which prove her decision of character and her intrepidity in extreme cases. She alleges that she was misled by her daughter, and believed that the plundered money belonged to the Sieur Bryond, a common excuse!
Twenty-two heads have fallen under the blade of the law; only one of the guilty persons is now left, and she is a young woman, a minor, not twenty years of age. Will not the Emperor Napoleon the Great grant her life, and give her time in which to repent? Is not that to share the part of God? For Henriette Lechantre, wife of Bryond des Tour-Minieres,