Hide Articles List

39 articles on this Page



FAMOUS CRIMINALS* No. 38.—Papavoine,who Murdered two Boys IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR MOTHER. On Sunday morning. the 10th of October. 1824. a man named Papavoine killed two little hoys, brothers—"babes in the wood"—in the presence of their mother as they were playing -on the grraos in the Bois de Vincennes. the Peoples Park. of Paris. The crime was not only remarkable for its cool atrocity, hut from having been perpetrated without any motive, and by a man a total stranger to the victims, in full possession of his senses. and jK>»ses3ed of no sanguinary instincts, either inherited or acquired. Papaverine was born in 1783. in the village of Mouy, in the department of the Eare. He was destined for the navy, and received a careful and liberal education. When twenty years of age he joined his first whip. and passed thence to several others, being employed in clerking and book-keeping. After a time he rose to the rank of quarter- master. Ultimately he waa attached to the ttccoontants department at the Brest Arsenal. In his several functions Papavoine ouitted ihimself with ability, regularity and probity. Hit father was an army clothing, manufac- turer, who dted in 1823, leaving hir tottfiiness in a ebaotic condition to his widow and only son. The latter retired fro'n the navy .and claiming his pension, it was fixed at 360f. Jie returned to Mouy. intending to conduct the imilb). but the War Office declined to renew the privileged contract. This was next to commercial death for Papavoine. He regret- ted having quitted the naval service, and applied to be taken back, but his services were declined. These circumstances affected Ms health physically and morally. He was Advised by some friends to undertake some travelling for a change. He did so. and vim- ted several friends at Beauvais. where he had eommercial relations Hardly had he arrived when his mother forwarded him some con- >tracts That had been sent to him by the War fmce. This necessitated his coming to Paris to comply with certain forma lities.lle bor- rowed some money, trrttred in the capital on &he 6th of October, called on some old clients to indicate to him how to fill the official docu- ments and the stamps to affix. He remained «> few days quietly in his hotel, till Sunday, the 10th—the day of the crime-when. reeling a. desire for a little change and a walk in the fresh air, he, after alight dejeuner, strolled towards the wood of Vincennes. In Paris Papavoine looked respectable: he was slender, ftall, very pale, and dressed with extreme care. iOn the present occasion he wore a blue frock coat, buttoned to the chin; his hat displayed .-very deep crape, and was fastened, following the fashion of the time. by an enormous buckle. His hair was thin and chestnut colour, as were his whiskers. His expression Was vague and veiled with anxiety. Among the many visitors to the pp.rk wa» Charlotte Herin .aged 25. a lace maker. living with her family in the city. Her lather was a porter in a Government office. She led two little boys—aged five and six years respec- tively—by the hand. She had called o,t the school where they were boarding to bring them out. for a walk, to pass in a wood the day with her. and play with her, as was .her weekly custom. She was the mother of the two children, but she was not married. Her teducer was a. carriage builder's son, whom his father had exiled to Brussels to break the liaison, while allowing the girl 30f. per month, in addition to paying for the rearing of the children in a boarding-school and granting her the privilege of passing every Sunday.ith them. As the infants were playing on the grass, a young woman, happening to pass by. stopped to admire the two handsome children. She talked with them and their mother, —vl in leaving, asked permission to kiss them, which was at once granted. She herself was waiting for her lovei to come to the rendezvous —the paths close by. The tall man in close buttoned blue coat had observed this scene, ■and when the young woman had resumed her w.Uk after embracing the children, he approached her and asked, "Do you know nie two littie lads you have just embraced?' She replied, rather tartly, that one can "very well embrace pretty children without knowing them.' Then she proceeded to a grocer's shop, chattered with the woman that kept it. took a liqueur glass of cordial, and returned to the park to await the arrival of her lover. The genfleman in the blue coat next entered the abop and asked to be shown a knife he indi- cated. The shopwoman answered that she could not sell a single knife out of that bundle of twelve, but found one nearly similar lying loose. He bought it—a common dinner- knife— and returned to where the yonns mother and her children had been playing- They had, however, removed to the wooden ball-room attached to a restaurant. <?s the sky was threatening rarn. and the mother "Was meditating on ordering her lunch for her- self and children, while the latter were build- ing? houses on the grass with sand carried from the paths close by. The tall man in the close- buttoned blue coat accosted the mother. He was frightfully pale, and his features ap- peared to be in a state of nervous convulsion. JIie looks chilled the mother's blood, she felt a creepiness stealing over her, and her fore- head was suddenly covered with a cold perspi- ration. "Your promenade has not been very long, madame." said the man, in a croaking voice. She made no answer, but called her little boys to come away. The man approached the yonngest lad, aged five, and struck him in the chest—it was the entrance of the knife to the heart. With her parasol the mother vigo- rously struck the man on his hat. Regardless of the attack, he approached the second lad. and plunged the knife, covered with blood. into his heart also. Then Papavoine, for it washe. rapidly walked away. The mother's screams attracted some prome- naders. They beheld the spectacle of two pretty children weltering in their blood, and the mother in an hysterical faint. When she was restored to consciousness, she related what had occurred. Some ran to lock the park gates, others to seek the police. Mounted members of the latter soon scoured the wood. A soldier of the Artillery and a civilian were walking together close by. and the latter observed. "What a horrible thing to murder two little children who never harmed any- body. If it had only been an adult that Had been assassinated! A policeman ap- proached. examined the civilian n- a tall, man with a blue coat—and roqnested him to come to the stationhouse. "Willingly," re- plied Papavoine very calmly. But after a little his steps became faltering. So that he had to be taken by the arm by the soldier and the policeman- Cn the way to the station 100 soldier said he did not know the gentle- man; he encounered him running breath- essly oat of the brush wood on to the road, when he inquired what was the nearest road aat of the Bois de. Vincenneø, as he was in a lIurry. Then he paused to arrange hts dress 'tnd hair and smooth his hat, which appeared to have received a blow. He next asked the 4o)dier "if he looked flattered." On arriving at the police station Papavoine wiM quickly Identified-Ant of all by the mother, who, aided by some women, exclaimed, "that's the monster who killed my children!" Then m9 swooned. Next appeared the grocers wife: "that's the man I sold a knife to a few hours ago!" Strange, the knife was never fomnd. Despite this conclusive evi- dence Papavoine denied that he committ" the crime, and when placed in presence ro .1ti. two lilt-" victims lie at once admitted h _w them playing in the wood, but he In nothing to do with their deaths, and t1- magistrate, in arresting him. had simp1 mdded one more to the mountain of juriici- errors. Excepting two butcher's knives foun'" in his trunk at the hotel, which he purchased before coming to Paris there was no orimi- Jiat:nsr object discovered. Public opinion was not only excited, but irritated, at the un- usually strange character of the prisoner. He «te»ied everything; his conduct would fit no theory. About flvo weeks after his arrest Papavoine changed his tactics; he confessed he was mistaken in the little boy and girl whom he had killed in the Vincennes Wood. lie thought they were the Royal c',r,dren he had slain, anj whom he had inter VV to des- troy. That. he said was why he purchased :ht? two knives in advance which were found in hi* portmanteau. Xo one believed this story, but it set the Royal Family in a ter- rible flutter, for it was less than four yean previously that the Due dc Berri had been .88&"øinaL(.d .and it was his two children, better known in later years as the Comte de Chainboid and his sister, to whomPapaToine alluded, lie even promised to reveal the plot if tb; Dnchessc d'Angouletne—daughter to Marie Antiouette— and the Duch-.e De Berri would accord him an interna v, but this was refused While in prison he set Are to his bed alleging that he did so to destroy the fteaIJ." Next he nearly killed a young fellow prisoner by stabbing him with a table knife that accidentally came in his way. The prosecution regarded these facts ae simu- lated madnese, to extenuate his parent crime. *The latter not the less for the public remained inexplicable ;no one could discover any cause or And any interest. The trial took pluon on February. 23. t12S. From every quarter in France people flocked 4m »ihi ■— it. a, it was popularly believed that the prisoner would make some startling reve- lations. On the tale of the court the objects connected with the crime most remarked, were the hatt. of the accused, bearing dis- tinctly the mark of the blow struck of the parawl of the frantic, thte mark of the blow struck by the parasou of thte Frank mother, as well aa the parasol itself. Placed in the dock the appearance of the prisoner deceived the character formed of him by the public- that of a depraved and vulgar criminal. On the contrary, he personified the type of a public functiona.ry-plooid, simple, and cor- rectly dressed, speaking in a subdued tone, and with p, business air to his counsel. He yawned constantly, as if wearied with all the assize preparations. The pubt¡é:j)r.Qiècutor was not at all sure of obtaining; a. capital conviction. Public opinion had been tormented by the^jiewuess I of the type of murder, and the jurors appeared to reflect that uncertainty. He examined all the hypothesis, the possible motives, passions, and interests. The prisoner had no accom- plices. the crime was not the consequence of any suggestion, he was net. an instrument of any interest. Bort; a; lunatic fcia luci- dity uuder" Maniihatiou ,'praved tuat he thrught. acted .and reflected as other men; his antecedaHtt involved no depravity of con- duct, no horrible vices, °no sanguinary dis- positions; he had.'no-hate against his fellow creatures more successful in life than him- self. He may- have had some mysterious secrets concealed in the depth of his heart, but justice failed to discover them. Further, with such conjectures the law had nothing to do. Its duty was to prove the crime. The prisoner avowed his guilt, and the dead bodies of his two victims corroborated him. The cause of the crime may be uRertain, but. said the Public Prosecutor, there is no uncertainty about the crime itself, and human justice exacts that society be protected. The mother's short examination was sensational. On being asked to. identify the blood-steeped clothing of her children and to look at the murderer she- fell into a succession -of hys- terical shrieks, which so affected numerous ladies in the court that they had to be medi- cally attended*. After an adjournment of the court the motner was again brought in and placed facing,me judge, so as to avoid the spectacle of ttie-ehahing"mcl the preaence of tho assassin. Papavoine was defended by 4i. young lawyer, an intimarTe 1 friend of his family, who, -like the prosecution, could find no motive for Gambia- crime. He could only suppose it was perpetrated in a fit of ephermal insanity, though madness was never known in the prisoner's family. It would bo known in the prisoner's family. It would be cruel, then. on the part of society to execute an irresponsible individual, and human justice would let itseif down by guillotining the insane. The jury retired to consider their verdict, and after an hour's agitated delibe- ration the majority voted, "Guilty." without extenuating circumstances. When receiving ¡. the sentence of. death Papavoine remained calm and self-possessed, bowed to judges and I jury. and then tranquilly said, "I appeal to Divine jastice." He quietly shook hands with I the counsel and thanked him for hie brilliant defence. The prisoner's family and a section of the public, with even the secret approba- tion of tne judges and jury, joined in a peti- tion to the King to exercise his clemency. But the spirif of political rc-action was in the ascendant, and the inner ring of the Royal Famiiy firmly believed that Papavoine was employed to murder the young heira to the Bourbon throne. So Charles X. declined to I pardon the condemned, who was executed on March 25. 1&S5. on the Palace de 1'Hotcl dc Ville—on the' spot. it is said. where the Mar- chioness de Brinvillicrs had been decapitated and burned. The only concession the family obtained was to receive the remains for I interment. Although the execution took place at four o'clock in the afternoon only a mode- rate crowd assembled. The belief had gained ground that the culprit was not of sound mind, and his execution suggested that of a man unconscious of his crime, and equally so of the nature and object of his punishment. FAMOUS CRIMINALS. This aeries ,wa.s commenced in the "Evening Express" of July 8. The following hare appeared: July 8.Troppman the Terrible. July 11 William Corder. July 15 James Cook. July 18 Fieschi and Hit Infernal Machine. I July 22 Sichar Rince. July 25 Theodore Gardelle. Aug. 1 Francis David Stirn. Aug. 8.John M'Naughton. Aug. 15 Patrick Devann. Aug. 22 The Road Hill Murder. 'I Aug. 29 Sarah Metyard and her daughter. Sept. 5 Moses Hatto. Sept. 12 William Dove. Sept. 19 Billoir. Sept. 2% .The Foley-pktce Tragedy. Oct. 5 Prince of Wales's Nurse. Oct. 10.Sarah Thomas, the Bristol Murderer. Oct. 17 James Barbour, who murdered a Brother. Packman. Oct. 23 Liverpool Murders. Oct 30 The Glanareath Murder. Nov. 7 Wainewright. the Poisoner Nov. 14 Llewellyn Harvey. Nov. 21 ,v„Joha Cains. Nov. 28 Charles Westron. Dee. 5 Elliott Bower. Dec. 12 Fanny Oliver. Dec. 19 v.Michael Carney. Jan. 2.Martha Alden. Jan. 9 ;The Cudhaun Murder. Jan. 16 Madame Rachel.


Short Cake.

Passing Pleasantries.