MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 121
for a minute, and I then picked him up by the scruff of the neck.
' Have you caught Mademoiselle Desgarcins ?' I shouted to Michel.
' Have you caught the Last of the Laidmanoirs ?' returned he.
' Yes! ' we both replied in turn. And each bearing his prisoner, we returned to the cage, which had in the meantime been mended, and shut them up once more, whilst Potich, with loud lamentations, fled to the top of the highest tree in the garden. No sooner, however, did he find that his two companions were unable to get out of their cage, than he came down from his tree, approached Michel in a timid and sidelong manner, and with clasped hands and little plaintive cries, entreated to be shut up again with his friends.
' Just see what a hypocrite he is!' said Michel.
But I was of opinion that the conduct of Potich was prompted by devotion rather than hypocrisy; I compared it to that of Regulus, who returned to Carthage to keep his promised word, or to King John of France, who voluntarily gave himself up to the English for the Countess of Salisbury's sake.
Michel continued to think Potich a hypocrite, but on account of his repentance he was forgiven. He was put back into the cage, where Mademoiselle Desgarcins took very little notice of him.
All this time Mysouff, having been forgotten, calmly remained in the aviary, and continued to crunch the bones of his victims with the most hardened indifference. It was easy enough to catch Mm. We shut him into the aviary, and held a council as to what should be his punishment. Michel was of opinion that he should be shot forthwith. I was, however, opposed to his immediate execution, and resolved to wait until the following Sunday, and then to cause Mysouff to be formally tried by my assembled friends. The condemnation was therefore