erate on my case. I might have confessed that I had done neither more nor less than a young blockhead of sixteen, left to himself in Paris, might be expected to do, and they must have acknowledged that I was innocent of something Uke seven-eighths of the capital sins, but my aunt had so mixed up the true with the false, and the false with the probable, that my poor old father did not doubt for an instant but that I was capable of every crime, winding up—since I had not commenced with it—by parricide. I am not overstating the case, absurd as it may sound.
Unhappily for me, all the fathers in Auvergne were just then in a state of fright,—an epidemic of terror had seized them all. There are weak minded people in castles as well as in huts, and fools are to be found in aristocratic drawing-rooms as well as in the sixth floor garrets of city houses. About this time, it was said that many young children had disappeared, and this, coupled with the report that the Dauphin was suffering from some strange malady, led many of the good citizens of