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A woman named Sophie Gauthier, whose married name was Boyou, and ; who had been condemned to death for killing seven of her children by sticking pins and needles into their heads, \ was/ guillotined recently at Bourg, in the presence of four thousand persons. The enormity of the crimes committed by this horrible beldame was so palpable that for once a French jury returned a verdict nf guilty without "extenuating circumstances," and the Minister of- Justice — althongh, it ie said, with some reluctance, owing to Bex..\qt'. the culprit— urged upon the Chief of the State the imperative,necessity. ;,qf allowing the law to take, its : course. The wretched creature remained very calm to the last. She had rather expected a commutation of her geriteoce, and 1 never seemed folly to comprehend the horrible nature of her crimes. On her way to the scaffold the demonstrations of the crowd were very hostile, many women shaking their, fi»ts at the criminal and exclaiming, V You wretch, you are about to 'die, and you will be well received in the next world; all your children are Trailing for you. Sophie Gauthier w,ent through her ordeal almost without any support, and appeared quite resigned to tbe fate she so well deserved. The death of this revolting criminal recalls a few interesting facts connected with the execution of women in France. Since 1840 nine women haverbeen executed,and they all met their death i with great firmnesß. Ten years ago a man and woman were executed at Chartrea for having murdered their parents. In those days the guillotine was not the horribly neat and compact little instrument that it is now; there Were . steps to ascend before coming in contact with the. executioner. When the criminal couple reached the foot of the scaffold the woman Baid, " I should |jke j> to, embrace my husband before dying. Pray untie my hands; you can tie them again immediately afterwards." This ' supreme wish was reluctantly granted,; for it was contrary to the regulations. Her hands were no sooner free than she gathered up all her strength; and gave her husband a ringing, .box on the ear. According to 'custom, .she was the first to suffer the extreme penalty of the law. Before the man had recovered from the stunning blow she had dealt him her bead had fallen into the sawdust. Anotter woman who created great sensation at the time, was Virginia Dezoo, who had murdered- her husband and two children. She was only twenty-five years of; age, , wonderfully beautiful, and belonged to one of the beet families of France. She had not the slightest fear of death, and the moment the sentence was passed she sent a letter to the Emperor begging there might be no delay in carrying it out. Prison life and*: the loss of her loDg black hair, produced a much more disagreeable impression upon this delicate woman than the sight of the hideous choppirigblock and knife. Maoy summary executions of women took place when the regular troops entered Paris during the insurrection. A gentleman said that he remembered seeing one of the advanced Republican ladies placed against a wall behind the Great Northern Railway Station. She had just been taken with a recently-fired rifle in her hand, and standing by the Bide of a dying sentry. "Did you shoot this man?" enquired the officer, pointing to the writhing, body of the sentry. *l I did," was the reply, " and lam only sorry that £ did not see you before, as you were better worth the trouble." Two minutes afterwards she was lyiug on her face with twelve bullets ih her body. Death had been instantaneous. Her victim, the soldier, lived two hours after her, and expired in horrible pain.

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Bibliographic details

USE OF THE GUILLOTINE IN FRANCE., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XI, Issue 113, 4 May 1876

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USE OF THE GUILLOTINE IN FRANCE. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XI, Issue 113, 4 May 1876