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CHAPTER XII

THE HOUSE OF STRANGE WORDS

Among all the papers I found in the sandalwood box, by Theophrastus himself, by M. Lecamus, or by Commissary Mifroid, those which relate to the death of Cartouche are beyond doubt the most curious and the most interesting. They are indeed of great historical interest since they contradict history. Moreover they contradict it with such force and with such irrefutable reasoning that one asks how men of such weight as Barbier, who was in the best position of all not to be duped, since he lived at the time, could have been the victims of a very poor comedy, and how succeeding generations have failed to suspect the truth.

History then, serious history, teaches us that Cartouche, after having undergone the Question in its cruellest form without revealing one single name or fact,—how Cartouche, who had only to die and nothing to hope, was brought to the Place de Grève to be executed, and that there he decided to confess; that they