William Makepeace Thackeray
Paris, November 1839
MY DEAR BRIEFLESS,--Two months since, when the act of accusation first appeared, containing the sum of the charges against Sebastian Peytel, all Paris was in a fervor on the subject. The man's trial speedily followed, and kept for three days the public interest wound up to a painful point. He was found guilty of double murder at the beginning of September; and since that time, what with Maroto's disaffection and Turkish news, we have had leisure to forget Monsieur Peytel, and to occupy ourselves with τί νέον. Perhaps Monsieur de Balzac helped to smother what little sparks of interest might still have remained for the murderous notary. Balzac put forward a letter in his favor, so very long, so very dull, so very pompous, promising so much, and performing so little, that the Parisian public gave up Peytel and his case altogether; nor was it until today that some small feeling was raised concerning him, when the newspapers brought the account how Peytel's head had been cut off at Bourg.
He had gone through the usual miserable ceremonies and delays which attend what is called, in this country, the march of justice. He had made his appeal to the Court of Cassation, which had taken time to consider the verdict of the Provincial Court, and had confirmed it. He had made his appeal for mercy; his poor sister coming up all the way from Bourg