122 MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS
postponed In the meantime Mysouff remained a prisoner in the very spot where his crimes had been committed. He continued, however, to refresh himself with the remains of his victims without apparent remorse, but Michel removed all the bodies, and confined him to a diet of bread and water.
Next Sunday, having convoked a council of all my friends, the trial was proceeded with. Michel was appointed Chief Justice and Nogent Saint-Laurent was counsel for the -.prisoner. I may remark that the jury were inclined to find a verdict of guilty, and after the first speech of the Judge, the capital sentence seemed almost certain. But the skilful advocate, in a long and eloquent speech, brought clearly before us the innocence of Mysouff, the malice of the monkeys, their quickness and incessant activity compared with the less inventive minds of cats. He showed us that Mysouff was incapable of contemplating such a crime; he described him wrapped in peaceful sleep, then, suddenly aroused from this innocent slumber by the abandoned creatures who, living as they did opposite the aviary, had doubtless long harboured their diabolical designs. We saw Mysouff but half awake, still purring innocently, stretching himself, opening his pink mouth, from which protruded a tongue like that of a heraldic lion. He shakes his ears, a proof that he rejects the infamous proposal that is being made to him; he listens; at first he refuses — the advocate insisted that the prisoner had begun by refusing — then, naturally yielding, hardly more than a kitten, corrupted as he had been by the cook, who instead of feeding him on milk or a little weak broth, as she had been told to do, had recklessly excited his carnivorous appetite by giving him pieces of liver and parings of raw chops; the unfortunate young cat yields little by little, prompted more by good nature and weakness of mind than by cruelty or greed, and, only half awake, he does the bidding of the villainous monkeys, the real instigators of the