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A Book of Remarkable Criminals by Irving

Ducoudray in the Rue de la Mortellerie


A few days later M. Derues sent down to his place at Buisson-Souef a large trunk filled with china. It was received there by M. de Lamotte. Little did the trusting gentleman guess that it was in this very trunk that the body of his dear wife had been conveyed to its last resting place in the cellar of M. Ducoudray in the Rue de la Mortellerie. Nor had M. Mesvrel-Desvergers, importunate creditor of M. Derues, guessed the contents of the large trunk that he had met his debtor one day early in February conveying through the streets of Paris. Creditors were always interrupting Derues at inconvenient moments. M. Mesvrel-Desvergers had tapped Derues on the shoulder, reminded him forcibly of his liability towards him, and spoken darkly of possible imprisonment. Derues pointed to the trunk. It contained, he said, a sample of wine; he was going to order some more of it, and he would then be in a position to pay his debt. But the creditor, still doubting, had M. Derues followed, and ascertained that he had deposited his sample of wine at a house in the Rue de la Mortellerie.

On Wednesday, February 12, a M. Beaupre of Commercy arrived at Versailles with his nephew, a fat boy, in reality some fourteen years of age, but given out as older. They hired a room at the house of a cooper named Pecquet. M. Beaupre was a very pale little gentleman, who seemed in excellent spirits, in spite of the fact that his nephew was clearly anything but well. Indeed, so sick and ailing did he appear to be that Mme. Pecquet suggested that his uncle should call in a doctor. But M. Beaupre said that that was quite unnecessary; he had no faith in doctors; he would give the boy a good purge. His illness was due, he said, to a venereal disorder and the drugs which he had been taking in order to cure it; it was a priest the boy needed rather than a doctor. On the Thursday and Friday the boy's condition showed little improvement; the vomiting continued. But on Saturday M. Beaupre declared himself as highly delighted with the success of his medicine. The same night the boy was dead. The priest, urgently sent for by his devout uncle, arrived to find a corpse. On the following day "Louis Anotine Beaupre, aged twenty-two and a half," was buried at Versailles, his pious uncle leaving with the priest six livres to pay for masses for the repose of his erring nephew's soul.

The same evening M. Derues who, according to his own account, had left Paris with the young de Lamotte in order to take the boy to his mother in Versailles, returned home to the Rue Beaubourg. As usual, Bertin dropped in to dinner. He found his host full of merriment, singing in the lightness of his heart. Indeed, he had reason to be pleased, for at last, he told his wife and his friend, Buisson-Souef was his. He had seen Mme. de Lamotte at Versailles and paid her the full purchase-money in good, sounding gold. And, best joke of all, Mme. de Lamotte had no sooner settled the business than she had gone off with a former lover, her son and her money, and would in all probability never be heard of again. The gay gentleman laughingly reminded his hearers that such an escapade on the part of Mme. de Lamotte was hardly to be wondered at, when they recollected that her son had been born out of wedlock.


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