END OF THE GOLD ÉCU TURNED INTO A DRY LEAF
WHEN she came back into the courtroom, pale and limping, she was greeted by a general murmur of pleasure. On the audience's part there was the feeling of impatience rewarded which one experiences in the theatre at the end of the last interval in the play, when the curtain goes up and the end is about to begin. On the judges' part it was the hope of being soon able to sit down to supper. The little goat too bleated with delight. It tried to run to its mistress, but it had been tied to the bench.
It was now completely dark. The candles, whose number had not been increased, gave so little light that one could not see the walls of the hall. Darkness wrapped every object in a kind of haze. The apathetic faces of some of the judges just barely emerged. Facing them, at the end of the long hall, they could see a vague white blur standing out against the gloomy background. It was the accused.
She had dragged herself to her place. When Charmolue had installed himself magisterially in his, he sat down, then stood up again and said, without betraying too much vanity at his success: 'The accused has admitted everything.'
'Bohemian girl,' the president put in, 'you have admitted all your acts of magic, prostitution, and murder against Phoebus de Châteaupers?'
Her heart constricted. She could be heard sobbing in the shadows. 'Whatever you will,' she answered feebly, 'but kill me quickly.'
'Monsieur the King's attorney in ecclesiastical courts,' said the president, 'the court is ready to hear your requisitions.'
Maître Charmolue displayed an intimidating register, and began reading with a wealth of gesture and the exaggerated accents of advocacy a Latin oration in which all the evidence of the charges was stacked upon Ciceronian peri