San Antonio Light in San-Antonio, Texas
6 Jan 1935

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San Antonio Light in San-Antonio, Texas
6 Jan 1935

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San Antonio Light (Newspaper) - January 6, 1935, San Antonio, Texas Ovri n mrw after seven years of 111 treatment they abruptly turn on their mistress kill her and her daughter and then calmly await the police be mans France. Christine Papin the Model servant girl who was sentenced to the Guillotine for killing her mistress some time ago has been reprieved and will serve a life sentence of imprisonment instead. Her sister Lea convicted of the same crime has been let off with a lighter ten years at hard labor. Although no woman had been guillotined in France since 1887, it was unparalleled in ferocity was this Christine s sen tence would be carried out. But the Rule of mercy to women was not broken. Christine and Lea Are peasants and for years were pointed out As Model denials. Suddenly in revenge for mis treatment they asserted at their trial they slaughtered like butchers mme. Leonie Lancelin wife of a lawyer at be mans and her daughter Genievieve. Throughout the trial which lasted thirteen hours Christine stood in the prisoners Box like a statue with clasped hands and downcast eyes. Not once during the proceedings did she glance at anyone. Lea on the contrary stared fixedly before her As if in a trance. In fact these country girls described As the two furies in the local press appeared like lambs in court. To the questions of the presiding judge m. Beucher they replied timidly in Mono syllables and almost inaudibly. They expressed no remorse asked no Pardon shed no tears and when the verdict was returned remained mute impassive. But on the afternoon of february 2, 1933, in the Home of mme. Lancelin at no. 6 Rue Bruyere be mans they were not so mild. On that Day follow ing a reprimand from their mistress because they had broken an electric Iron Christine and Lea sprang on the lawyer s wife with the ferocity of wild animals scratched out her eyes and beat her head into a pulp with a heavy Pewter pot. In the same fashion the servants blinded and killed mme. Lancelin s daughter Genevieve aged 27, who rushed to her Mother s Rescue. After this outburst of frenzy Christine and Lea fetched carving knives from the Kitchen and proceeded to Cut the victims in pieces. Then apparently exhausted by their work they cleaned the knives washed their hands went to their Garret bed chamber and bolted the door. When m. Lancelin came Home about 7 o clock in the evening he found him self locked out. Thinking his wife and daughter had gone to the House of his brother in Law m. I inward at no. 3 Rue Des Chanoine where they All had been invited to dinner the advocate hurried to meet them there Only to discover they had not arrived. Ill at ease m. Lancelin notified the police and accompanied by two Gend armes Psi. Ragot and verite returned to his residence in the Rue Bruyere. A Light was gleaming from the attic window like a tired Eye struggling in vain against sleep but although the lawyer rang the Doorbell repeatedly no one answered. Having forced open the door the police officers passed Down a Long Cor Ridor followed by m. Lancelin. On mounting a stairway Ragot and verite uttered a cry and told the lawyer not to approach. They had turned their flashlights on a human from its Lay on the first land ing. Next they entered the living room a veritable shambles. The gendarmes then broke into the domestics room and found the Sisters huddled in bed. We were waiting for said the criminals calmly. Before the police commissary m. Dupuy Christine and Lea confessed they were the authors of the double murder declaring they were tired of being mis treated by mme. Lancelin and her daughter and had slain them out of revenge. Interior corridor and courtyard of lawyer Lancelin s House where his wife and daughter were killed by their servants. The sen ants were defended in the court trial by m. Pierre Chautemps and mile. Germaine Briere who endeavoured to prove their clients were mentally unbalanced and so not responsible for their actions. The eminent parisian alienist or. Legre backed up their statements by testifying that the Sis ters were epileptic and belonged in a Hospital not in a prison. The jurors however put their Faith in the report of three local drs. Schutz Enberger Truella and bar had examined the Sisters in the prison do Vert galant. In the opinion of these experts the women were perfectly Normal and free from he Rcd itary insanity although the de showed that the father of tin Murde resses was a victim of alcohol inn that the Mother was a Mystic and hysteric that a Cousin had died raving mad in an Asylum and that their maternal Uncle after suffering from neurasthenia had hanged himself. While it is impossible to justify the ghastly savagery which characterized the crime or to explore the hidden recesses in the hearts of the Papin Sis ten a glance at the women s antecedents environment and Joyless existence helps to explain at least the paroxysm of rage that led them to kill their mis Tress and her daughter. Born on a farm in the Vicinity of be sleepy old town on the Banks of the and Lea were sent by their parents at an Early age to work in the Fields where they were saddled with every Burden like dumb beasts. The legend that life passes with the Tranquillity and sweetness of an Idyl in the Rural districts of France was sex on Side Antn inc of i Inch is Hoid Curc. Ilic two Ixo Rcd Atoui int him police. 5 plodded Long ago by Zola who depicted in la Terre the soil the crush ing labor and great wretched Ness of the peas ant. Times have not changed since then according to another noted French writer Sloger Larlin do Gard. In his re cent Book vie Ille France old he paints a dark picture of the country Side whose inhabitants Are for their brutish ignorance martyrdom to toil and sordid misery. No virginian peace reigns Here and kindness and goodness Are conspicuous by their absence. In such surroundings Christine and Lea passed their childhood in perpetual toil counting those Days Happy when they were not beaten by their Drunken father or by their half witted Mother. Finally their parents separated and the Sisters were confined in the Bon Pasteur orphanage where they be came habituated to discipline and Drudgery of another kind. On leaving this institution the girls got jobs As maids of All work in various Homes at la mans. Making Beds Black ing shoes waiting at the table Cook ing scrubbing were the Servile offices they performed. Yet accustomed to hard words did not complain. 4 by amt Iran i picturesque stairway in famous old be mans. In 1926, Christine secured a position As Cook in the Home of m. Lance Lin while Lea was hired As chambermaid. Here for seven years the two rustics realized All the Domestic Virtues. They were sober economical clean laborious Obedi ent silent and As a re Ward for these qualities received francs a year formerly about pay to be sure for servants in England or America but considered Good wages in Rural France. Up to the Day of the tragedy the Papin Sisters were known in la mans As the two they disregarded dress and personal adornment never added abroad shunning the pleasures of the theatre movies and dance Hall and had no beaux. In making purchases at the Market Dur ing the week the two did not waste time gossiping. In truth they were noted for their taciturn Ity. On Sun Days at 8 a. M., Christine and Lea went regularly to mass at the Saint Julion antique pile Dat ing from the thirteenth occasionally visited a mystical healer near the Rue Bruyere who had the reputation of being a sorcerer. What patterns of piety and moral was an exclamation often heard whenever the Pepin sister. Were seen passing the Planco lies jacobins on their Way to the How different these Hardy country lasses were from the impudent girls from Paris who the Courll Iise m mans Fri Are. Where the Papin Sisi Era were convicted. Scandalized the town by their love affairs cried if a pin pricked them and gave warning to their mistresses at the first hard work. But it must be remembered that in France especially in the towns and Vil Lages it is a misfortune to be Bora a Bonne a tout maid of All work. No mat Ter if she be an excellent housekeeper and possess the car Dinal Virtues to Boot she is always a ser vant nothing More. In their novel Herminie Lacer the goncourt Brothers have shown How a Bonne is looked Down upon by master or mis Tress As if she were the dirt in the Street. Despite All the talk about Liberty Equality a Domestic Here is regarded As a degraded creature. Like poor Marianella the heroine of Galdos Romance she occupies a place in the household beneath that of. The cat. It was brought out in the trial that the advocate m. Lancelin had never once spoken to Christine and Lea Dur ing their seven years service in his Home and that his wife and daughter Only addressed them to order them about scold and reprimand them. Mme. Lancelin and Genevieve would have deemed the following words of colonel Higginson to be rank heresy in every Kitchen there should he a shelf of books that while the potatoes arc boiling and the pie baking the Cook May lift herself out of her sordid surroundings and keep the highest com Christine and Lea wore not treated As machines for one must take care of machines but As slaves. Each Day after the Sisters had mopped the floors beaten the carpets and polished the furniture the lawyer s wife would put on a pair of White gloves and make a tour of passing her hands Over the mantel pieces tables chairs or Bric a Brac to see if a speck of dust remained. If she detected a particle if dirt on her gloves she would upbraid the servants and sometimes slap them. Once when mme. Lancelin discovered a scrap of paper on the parlor carpet she seized Christine by the Arm pinched her Black and Blue and then made her fall Down on her Knees to pick it up. On another occasion Lea had the bail Luck to spill a drop of water on the table while watering a pot of Low ers and the mistress boxed her cars. For seven years the Papin Sisters Christine and Lea Papin guarded by French police during their trial for lie murder of their mistress and her daughter. Endured this sort of tyranny like spar tans without a murmur. No ill treat ment seemed Able to exhaust their submissiveness. But mme. Lancelin and Genevieve by sowing the wind reaped the whirlwind. Maddened at last by constant humiliation and abuse and longing to be delivered from oppression Lea suddenly be came transformed into furies of hatred. Smarting under rebukes and blows be cause they had accidentally broken an electric Iron the peasants killed their persecutors and drunk with Venge Ance the dead bodies the which in France take Many twisted views of Justice feel that the two furies must be punished although no woman no matter what she docs is executed. Among the enlightened classes Jin there is. A feeling that consideration should be Given to the barbarous Way servant girls Are treated. Thoughtful people Many of whom Aie socialists believe that the time has come for a Radical change in the ment of the Labouring and servant classes in the it is Only among the lower bourgeoisie the Middle classes in Small towns and the banners in backward districts that such treatment is com Mon. In Paris and in the larger cities and among the All Over the country kindly treatment of ser vants is general. But it seems that French Farmers have not changed much since the dark Many of them acquired their property at the revolution when it was confiscated from the nobility and they have treated their help with More sever Ity than their former lords treated them. These Farmers generally referred to As peasants Are in Many cases quite wealthy and it is no doubt in part due to their Nigga Liness that they Are so prosperous. They have held on to every Penny they Ever made. Few people in France indeed Are without Money except perhaps the poor ser vant girls. Recently a French Gen Darme had to describe in court How he picked up a dead beggar on the Road Side. The officer related How he found francs in the beggar s pockets just As if it were the most natural thing in the world. Many of these prosperous Farmers behave like the robber Barons of the Middle Ages in dealing with their ser vants. A Farmer of the Charente had a girl arrested for running away with a loaf of bread and a sausage. In de sense she told a Story of ill usage for Twenty years that moved the court to indignation. He had originally obtained her from an orphan Asylum and had never paid her anything. She had to do All the work for himself and wife and two children. She never had an evening or a Day off from one year s end to the other. She got up at four o clock in the morning Ana when the Fanner went to bed he locked her up in the cellar. As Long As his wife was alive she got enough to eat. But the wife died and the children went away and the miserly Farmer did not give her enough to support life. The poor slave seized the Opportunity when the Fanner sick to run away and carry something to cat with her. Such a Case cannot be called typical but it suggests the extreme Mise Liness and cruelty which prevail among the country people. The Small business and professional men of the agric us to Floral districts Are often marked by the same meanness As the Farmers. Thrift is a French , but it degenerates into avarice. The courts also show that sordid and brutal crimes Are More common among the peasantry than among the City people. Many of the peasants seem to have lost All humanity and to have no sentiment left in them except greed for land. To gain another foot of this some of them will commit any crime however monstrous and will even make away with their own parents and close relatives. It is not surprising that girls raised among such surroundings like the Papin Sisters should commit callous crimes. They have not any Conception of morality of any kind. Some social reformers desirous of throwing Light on the dark places of the French Countryside arc organizing a series of servant girls unions

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