Press enter after choosing selection

The Headsman Of Paris

The Headsman Of Paris image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

M. Heinricb, tlie successor of fat little Henri Sansón, as beadsman of Parid in 1847 was a man six feet in higth, with a clear, cold blue eye, reguíftf features, and the marmers and curriage of a perfect gentleman, nis whole bearing baving the appearance of a half-pay oflieer. M. Heindrich alwaya "operated" in evening diress, and a white crayat, andafter eachexecution went to the church of St. Ambroise, where he ordered a masa to be suid for the repose of the soul of the victim, whioh over, he took a bnth and then breakfasted. Heindrich had au imperative voiee and a stiong hand. iWhen he took hold of his man be never met vit.U any cesistance, and it is told of him tliat when Ytrger was called and on i bundred pretexta sought to al moment, Heindrich simply walked into the cell, looked fixedly at him, and said. "Eh bien, Verger," and the ot lier shuddered, rose and followed. Heindrich died en the (iood Fiiday of 1872, at the age of 70, aftérexerci for 50 years his proiession, and was succeeded by his aide, Roch, who was his antithesis, being as jocose and bonbomme as the other was reserved and solemn. Koch was a tall, powerful man with a placid face. gray whMcers, and gold earrings, looking on execution days, in his black frock coat, opened to show his cable-like watch chain, as if he were a workman in Sunday clothes. You always expected to hear him sing "Le Petit Ebi-niste," or some such ditty popular with his class. His bon mots were proverbial, but they were not in very good taste, as for example: "Come, my lad, be of courage; no one wants to tiurt you," aild, when Albert proÍosed to address a speech to the pubie, "Bah! I'll abridge it'." but they delighted the jailers and gave copy Jto the newspapers. He töokpart; in 173 executions. His hobby was his guillotine, which he called his bijou. He rubbed it bright, furbished the blade, wijaed off with his pocket handkerchief every grain of dust and speel of mud, and having heard of the ".minister noise" made by the knife in falling, arranged india-rubber linings for the grooves, and in order to save the "patiënt" from the sensation produced by the sight of the knife, cono it with a screen. Koch was married and the father of eight children, whom headored; nnd when lie "functioned" in the provincés, hia Srst act after the operation was to dispatch a telegram to his family, telling how the "affair had been conducted," and if there had been "a good attendence." He died in 187!) of apoplexy, at theage of 60. The present incumbent, M. Deibier, au ex-cabinet-maker ot Dijon, entered upon his career as an amateur and hom 1'amqur de Tart in 1885. M Deibier married a daughter of his coüeague of Algeria, Mlle Kasenauf, who, having been educated "with the wholesome traditions of the past, would not have consenfed to any ritiptial derogation" -you, perhaps, may notknowthat che bourleau aflects to retain those privileges of nobility which were granted to his predecessors in the 12th centuiy by a royal ordonnance. But his children have learned to share popular prejudices against the profession. His son preferred to enter as a clerk in one of Parisian monster stores. Deibier does not enjoy thepopularity of Roch and Heindrich; he is less active, less vigorous than they who could plaquer - "flatten"- the patiënt on the planchette and, without moving, touch the spring. He loses time, and even a second seems an eternity to tlie )ookers-on.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat