As no attempt was made to prevent it, the door was opened, and a magistrate, wearing his official scarf, presented himself, followed by four soldiers and a corporal.
"Edmond Dantes," replied the magistrate, "I arrest you in the name of the law!"
Dantes descended the staircase, preceded by the magistrate, and followed by the soldiers.
A carriage awaited him at the door; he got in, followed by two soldiers and the magistrate, and the vehicle drove off towards Marseilles.
"Is it possible?" burst simultaneously from all who were near enough to the magistrate to hear his words.
On opening the door, Villefort found himself facing him, and the young magistrate’s first impulse was to pause.
The deputy-procureur was, therefore, the first magistrate of Marseilles, when one morning his door opened, and M. Morrel was announced.
"Come nearer," said the magistrate, with a patronizing wave of the hand, "and tell me to what circumstance I owe the honor of this visit."
"In the first place, then, who examined you,—the king’s attorney, his deputy, or a magistrate?"
And you tell me this magistrate expressed great sympathy and commiseration for you?
"May I venture to inquire the reason of this unexpected visit?" said M. Morrel, addressing the magistrate, whom he evidently knew; "there is doubtless some mistake easily explained."
The magistrates freely discussed their political views; the military part of the company talked unreservedly of Moscow and Leipsic, while the women commented on the divorce of Josephine.
It was then that he encountered for the first time Villefort’s look,—that look peculiar to the magistrate, who, while seeming to read the thoughts of others, betrays nothing of his own.
The magistrate laid emphasis on these words, as if he wished to apply them to the owner himself, while his eyes seemed to plunge into the heart of one who, interceding for another, had himself need of indulgence.
He saw before him an officer delegated to enforce the law, and perfectly well knew that it would be as unavailing to seek pity from a magistrate decked with his official scarf, as to address a petition to some cold marble effigy.
He had entered Villefort’s office expecting that the magistrate would tremble at the sight of him; on the contrary, he felt a cold shudder all over him when he saw Villefort sitting there with his elbow on his desk, and his head leaning on his hand.
There, disguised under other names, and concealed under other costumes, are police agents, magistrates, attorneys-general, and bailiffs.
Who enjoyed the reputation of being the most severe, the most upright, the most rigid magistrate on the bench?
’—’What do you want me to do?’ asked the magistrate.
’—’What,’ cried I, ’do you, a magistrate, speak thus to me?
He was not only a magistrate, he was almost a diplomatist.
And as he said this, the "eye severe" of the magistrate had lost nothing of its habitual arrogance.
What magistrate would find, or even venture to insinuate, anything against this?
Dead bodies are not kept a year; they are shown to a magistrate, and the evidence is taken.
* Magistrate and orator of great eloquence—chancellor of France under Louis XV.
"Do you speak to me as a magistrate or as a friend?" asked Villefort.
And when you have found the culprit, if you find him, I will say to you, ’You are a magistrate, do as you will!’
It was a long time since the magistrate had heard a paradox so strong, or rather, to say the truth more exactly, it was the first time he had ever heard of it.
Well, then, see, here is a gentleman who had none of these resources at his disposal—a gentleman, only a simple magistrate, who learned more than you with all your police, and who would have saved my crown, if, like you, he had the power of directing a telegraph.
The change that had come over Villefort during the examination, the destruction of the letter, the exacted promise, the almost supplicating tones of the magistrate, who seemed rather to implore mercy than to pronounce punishment,—all returned with a stunning force to his memory.
"If this law were adopted, sir," said the procureur, "it would greatly simplify our legal codes, and in that case the magistrates would not (as you just observed) have much to do."
Yes, I promise you, as faithfully as you have promised me that this horrible marriage shall not take place, and that if you are dragged before a magistrate or a priest, you will refuse.
One only chance was left me, that of beseeching the magistrate before whom I was taken to cause every inquiry to be made for the Abbe Busoni, who had stopped at the inn of the Pont du Gard on that morning.
Two months passed away in hopeless expectation on my part, while I must do the magistrate the justice to say that he used every means to obtain information of the person I declared could exculpate me if he would.
The similarity in the symptoms of tetanus and poisoning by vegetable substances is so great, that were I obliged to affirm by oath what I have now stated, I should hesitate; I therefore repeat to you, I speak not to a magistrate, but to a friend.
"What?" cried the magistrate, with an accent of horror and consternation, "are you still harping on that terrible idea?"
The magistrate trembled convulsively.
M. D’Avrigny soon restored the magistrate to consciousness, who had looked like a second corpse in that chamber of death.
"You see you were deceived," murmured the magistrate; "come and see her, and on her bed of agony entreat her pardon for having suspected her."
"Which of you gentlemen," asked the magistrate, without replying to the count, "answers to the name of Andrea Cavalcanti?"
"Yes, madame," replied the magistrate.
"Madame, where do you keep the poison you generally use?" said the magistrate, without any introduction, placing himself between his wife and the door.
"The sitting is adjourned, gentlemen," said the president; "fresh inquiries will be made, and the case will be tried next session by another magistrate."
Should not a magistrate be not merely the best administrator of the law, but the most crafty expounder of the chicanery of his profession, a steel probe to search hearts, a touchstone to try the gold which in each soul is mingled with more or less of alloy?
Just then the door opened, and the jailer, addressing himself to Bertuccio, said,—"Excuse me, sir, but the examining magistrate is waiting for the prisoner."
"Come, magistrate," said M. d’Avrigny, "show yourself a man; as an interpreter of the law, do honor to your profession by sacrificing your selfish interests to it."
It was too soon for a visit from the examining magistrate, and too late for one from the director of the prison, or the doctor; it must, then, be the visitor he hoped for.
Scarcely had he entered the hall when he glanced at the whole body of magistrates and assistants; his eye rested longer on the president, and still more so on the king’s attorney.
I mean that the wife of the first magistrate in the capital shall not, by her infamy, soil an unblemished name; that she shall not, with one blow, dishonor her husband and her child.
Few have passed through this revolutionary period, in the midst of which we were born, without some stain of infamy or blood to soil the uniform of the soldier, or the gown of the magistrate.
Madame Danglars had often heard of the terror to which the magistrate alluded, but without the evidence of her own eyesight she could never have believed that the sentiment had been carried so far.
The magistrate had slept for a short time while the lamp sent forth its final struggles; its flickerings awoke him, and he found his fingers as damp and purple as though they had been dipped in blood.
Busoni turned around, and, perceiving the excitement depicted on the magistrate’s face, the savage lustre of his eyes, he understood that the revelation had been made at the assizes; but beyond this he was ignorant.
But the inflexibility of the procureur should stop there; she would see him the next day, and if she could not make him fail in his duties as a magistrate, she would, at least, obtain all the indulgence he could allow.
"Oh, do not fear the scaffold, madame," said the magistrate; "I will not dishonor you, since that would be dishonor to myself; no, if you have heard me distinctly, you will understand that you are not to die on the scaffold."
The magistrate was seated in an arm-chair, writing, with his back towards the door; he did not move as he heard it open, and the door-keeper pronounce the words, "Walk in, madame," and then reclose it; but no sooner had the man’s footsteps ceased, than he started up, drew the bolts, closed the curtains, and examined every corner of the room.
Instead of a rude mixture of sailors, soldiers, and those belonging to the humblest grade of life, the present assembly was composed of the very flower of Marseilles society,—magistrates who had resigned their office during the usurper’s reign; officers who had deserted from the imperial army and joined forces with Conde; and younger members of families, brought up to hate and execrate the man whom five years of exile would convert into a martyr, and fifteen of restoration elevate to…
The baroness ascended the steps; she felt herself strongly infected with the sadness which seemed to magnify her own, and still guided by the valet de chambre, who never lost sight of her for an instant, she was introduced to the magistrate’s study.
"In the meanwhile," continued the magistrate, "our codes are in full force, with all their contradictory enactments derived from Gallic customs, Roman laws, and Frank usages; the knowledge of all which, you will agree, is not to be acquired without extended labor; it needs tedious study to acquire this knowledge, and, when acquired, a strong power of brain to retain it."
Standing well at court, whether the king regnant was of the older or younger branch, whether the government was doctrinaire liberal, or conservative; looked upon by all as a man of talent, since those who have never experienced a political check are generally so regarded; hated by many, but warmly supported by others, without being really liked by anybody, M. de Villefort held a high position in the magistracy, and maintained his eminence like a Harlay or a Mole.
The exclamations, the insults addressed to Benedetto, who remained perfectly unconcerned, the energetic gestures, the movement of the gendarmes, the sneers of the scum of the crowd always sure to rise to the surface in case of any disturbance—all this lasted five minutes, before the door-keepers and magistrates were able to restore silence.
No one who had seen the magistrate at this moment, so thoroughly unnerved by the recent inauspicious combination of circumstances, would have supposed for an instant that he had anticipated the annoyance; although it certainly never had occurred to him that his father would carry candor, or rather rudeness, so far as to relate such a history.
Before the entrance of the magistrates, and indeed frequently afterwards, a court of justice, on days when some especial trial is to take place, resembles a drawing-room where many persons recognize each other and converse if they can do so without losing their seats; or, if they are separated by too great a number of lawyers, communicate by signs.
Although master of himself, Monte Cristo, scrutinized with irrepressible curiosity the magistrate whose salute he returned, and who, distrustful by habit, and especially incredulous as to social prodigies, was much more despised to look upon "the noble stranger," as Monte Cristo was already called, as an adventurer in search of new fields, or an escaped criminal, rather than as a prince of the Holy See, or a sultan of the Thousand and One Nights.
The magistrate, harassed and fatigued, had descended to the garden of his house, and in a gloomy mood, similar to that in which Tarquin lopped off the tallest poppies, he began knocking off with his cane the long and dying branches of the rose-trees, which, placed along the avenue, seemed like the spectres of the brilliant flowers which had bloomed in the past season.
His wife visited for him, and this was the received thing in the world, where the weighty and multifarious occupations of the magistrate were accepted as an excuse for what was really only calculated pride, a manifestation of professed superiority—in fact, the application of the axiom, "Pretend to think well of yourself, and the world will think well of you," an axiom a hundred times more useful in society nowadays than that of the Greeks, "Know thyself," a knowledge for which, in our…
But, no; on reflection, the procureur was not a merciless man; and it was not the magistrate, slave to his duties, but the friend, the loyal friend, who roughly but firmly cut into the very core of the corruption; it was not the executioner, but the surgeon, who wished to withdraw the honor of Danglars from ignominious association with the disgraced young man they had presented to the world as their son-in-law.
The night was cold and still; the family had all retired to rest but Villefort, who alone remained up, and worked till five o’clock in the morning, reviewing the last interrogatories made the night before by the examining magistrates, compiling the depositions of the witnesses, and putting the finishing stroke to the deed of accusation, which was one of the most energetic and best conceived of any he had yet delivered.
Are there any magistrates or judges at the Chateau d’If?"
"Indeed I am," replied the young magistrate with a smile; "and in the interesting trial that young lady is anxious to witness, the case would only be still more aggravated.
"If it be so," replied the magistrate, "rely upon every reparation being made; meanwhile, I am the bearer of an order of arrest, and although I most reluctantly perform the task assigned me, it must, nevertheless, be fulfilled.
"Your probity," replied the stranger, "is so well known to the prefect that he wishes as a magistrate to ascertain from you some particulars connected with the public safety, to ascertain which I am deputed to see you.
"Adieu, sir," said the magistrate, who had risen from his seat; "I leave you, bearing a remembrance of you—a remembrance of esteem, which I hope will not be disagreeable to you when you know me better; for I am not a man to bore my friends, as you will learn.
"Sir," said Villefort, in the squeaky tone assumed by magistrates in their oratorical periods, and of which they cannot, or will not, divest themselves in society, "sir, the signal service which you yesterday rendered to my wife and son has made it a duty for me to offer you my thanks.
Speak to me not as a magistrate, but as a friend; and when I am in bitter anguish of spirit, do not tell me that I ought to be gay.
There are no more uses of "magistrate" in the book.
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The local magistrate insisted on a cash payment for the speeding ticket.