The Holy Family Chapter VIII
The maître d'école is a criminal of Herculean strength and great intellectual vigour. He was brought up an educated and well-schooled man. This passionate athlete comes into conflict with the laws and customs of bourgeois society, whose universal yardstick is mediocrity, delicate morals and quiet trade. He becomes a murderer and abandons himself to all the excesses of a violent temperament that can nowhere find a fitting human occupation.
Rudolph captures this criminal. He wants to reform him critically and set him up as an example for the world of law. He quarrels with the world of law not over “punishment” itself, but over kinds and methods of punishment. He invents, as the Negro doctor David aptly expresses it, a penal theory which would be worthy of the “greatest German criminal expert”, and which has since had the good fortune to be defended by a German criminal expert with German earnestness and German thoroughness. Rudolph has not the slightest idea that one can rise above criminal experts: his ambition is to be “the greatest criminal expert”, primus inter pares [first among equals]. He has the maître d'école blinded by the Negro doctor David.
At first Rudolph repeats all the trivial objections to capital punishment: that it has no effect on the criminal and no effect on the people, for whom it seems to be an entertaining spectacle.
Further Rudolph establishes a difference between the maître d'école and the soul of the maître d'école. It is not the man, not the real maître d'école whom he wishes to save; he wants the spiritual salvation of his soul.
“The salvation of a soul,” he teaches, “is something holy.... Every crime can be atoned for and redeemed, the Saviour said, but only if the criminal earnestly desires to repent and atone. The transition from the court to the scaffold is too short.... You” (the maître d'école) “have criminally misused your strength. I shall paralyse your strength ... you will tremble before the weakest, your punishment will be equal to your crime ... but this terrible punishment will at least leave you the boundless horizon of atonement.... I shall cut you off only from the outer world in order to plunge you into impenetrable night and leave you alone with the memory of your ignominious deeds.... You will be forced to look into yourself ... your intelligence, which you have degraded, will be roused and will lead you to atonement.”
Since Rudolph regards the soul as holy and man’s body as profane, since he thus considers only the soul to be the true essence, because — according to Herr Szeliga’s Critical description of humanity — it belongs to heaven, the body and the strength of the maître d'école do not belong to humanity, the manifestation of their essence cannot be given human form or claimed for humanity and cannot be treated as essentially human. The maître d'école has misused his strength; Rudolph paralyses, lames, destroys that strength. There is no more Critical means of getting rid of the perverse manifestations of a human essential strength than the destruction of this essential strength. This is the Christian means — plucking out the eye if it offends or cutting off the hand if it offends, in a word, killing the body if the body gives offence; for the eye, the hand, the body are really only superfluous sinful appendages of man. Human nature must be killed in order to heal its ailments. Mass-type jurisprudence, too, in agreement here with the Critical, sees in the laming and paralysing of human strength the antidote to the objectionable manifestations of that strength.
What Rudolph, the man of pure Criticism, objects to in profane criminal justice is the too swift transition from the court to the scaffold. He, on the other hand, wants to link vengeance on the criminal with penance and consciousness of sin in the criminal, corporal punishment with spiritual punishment, sensuous torture with the non-sensuous torture of remorse. Profane punishment must at the same time be a means of Christian moral education,
This penal theory, which links jurisprudence with theology, this “revealed mystery of the mystery”, is no other than the penal theory of the Catholic Church, as already expounded at length by Bentham in his work Punishments and Rewards [Théorie des peines et des récompenses] In that book Bentham also proved the moral futility of the punishments of today. He calls legal penalties “legal parodies”.
The punishment that Rudolph imposed on the maître d'école is the same as that which Origen imposed on himself. He emasculates him, robs him of a productive organ, the eye. “The eye is the light of the body.” [New Testament, Matthew, 6:22] It does great credit to Rudolph’s religious instinct that he should hit, of all things, upon the idea of blinding. This punishment was current in the thoroughly Christian empire of Byzantium and came to full flower in the vigorous youthful period of the Christian-Germanic states of England and France. Cutting man off from the perceptible outer world, throwing him back into his abstract inner nature in order to correct him — blinding — is a necessary consequence of the Christian doctrine according to which the consummation of this cutting off, the pure isolation of man in his spiritualistic “ego”, is good itself. If Rudolph does not shut the maître d'école up in a real monastery, as was the case in Byzantium and in Franconia, he at least shuts him up in an ideal monastery, in the cloister of an impenetrable night which the light of the outer world cannot pierce, the cloister of an idle conscience and consciousness of sin filled with nothing but the phantoms of memory.
A certain speculative bashfulness prevents Herr Szeliga from discussing openly the penal theory of his hero Rudolph that worldly punishment must be linked with Christian repentance and atonement. Instead he imputes to him — naturally as a mystery which is only just being revealed to the world — the theory that punishment must make the criminal the “judge” of his “own” crime.
The mystery of this revealed mystery is Hegel’s penal theory. According to Hegel, the criminal in his punishment passes sentence on himself. Gans developed this theory at greater length. In Hegel this is the speculative disguise of the old jus talionis [the right of retaliation-an eye for an eye], which Kant expounded as the only juridical penal theory. For Hegel, self-judgment of the criminal remains a mere “Idea”, a mere speculative interpretation of the current empirical punishments for criminals. He thus leaves the mode of application to the respective stage of development of the state, i.e., he leaves punishment as it is. Precisely in that he shows himself more critical than his Critical echo. A penal theory which at the same time sees in the criminal the man can do so only in abstraction, in imagination, precisely because punishment, coercion, is contrary to human conduct. Moreover, this would be impossible to carry out. Purely subjective arbitrariness would take the place of the abstract law because it would always depend on the official, “honourable and decent” men to adapt the penalty to the individuality of the criminal. Plato long ago realised that the law must be one-sided and take no account of the individual. On the other hand, under human conditions punishment will really be nothing but the sentence passed by the culprit on himself. No one will want to convince him that violence from without, done to him by others, is violence which he had done to himself. On the contrary, he will see in other men his natural saviours from the punishment which he has imposed on himself; in other words, the relation will be reversed.
Rudolph expresses his innermost thought — the purpose of blinding the maître d'école — when he says to him:
“Chacune de tu paroles sera une prière."
[every word you say will be a prayer]
He wants to teach him to pray. He wants to convert the Herculean robber into a monk whose only work is prayer. Compared with this Christian cruelty, how humane is the ordinary penal theory that just chops a man’s head off when it wants to destroy him. Finally, it goes without saying that whenever real mass-type legislation was seriously concerned with improving the criminal it acted incomparably more sensibly and humanely than the German Harun al-Rashid. The four Dutch agricultural colonies and the Ostwald penal colony in Alsace are truly human attempts in comparison with the blinding of the maître d'école just as Rudolph kills Fleur de Marie by handing her over to the priest and consciousness of sin, just as he kills Chourineur by robbing him of his human independence and degrading him into a bulldog, so he kills the maître d'école by having his eyes gouged out in order that he can learn to “pray”.
This is, of course, the way in which all reality emerges “simply” out of “pure Criticism”, namely, as a distortion and senseless abstraction of reality.
Immediately after the blinding of the maître d'école Herr Szeliga causes a moral miracle to take place.
“The terrible maître d'école,” he reports, “suddenly recognises the power of honesty and decency and says to Schurimann: ‘Yes, I can trust you, you have never stolen anything.”
Unfortunately Eugène Sue recorded a statement of the maître d'école about Chourineur which contains the same recognition and cannot he the effect of his having been blinded, since it was made earlier. In talking to Rudolph alone, the maître d'école said about Chourineur:
“Besides, he is not capable of betraying a friend. No, there’s something good in him ... he has always had strange ideas.”
This would seem to do away with Herr Szeliga’s moral miracle. Now we shall see the real results of Rudolph’s Critical cure.
We next meet the maître d'école as he is going with a woman called Chouette to Bouqueval farm to play a foul trick on Fleur de Marie. The thought that dominates him is, of course, the thought of revenge on Rudolph. But the only way he knows of wreaking vengeance on him is metaphysically, by thinking and hatching “evil” to spite him.
“He has taken away my sight but not the thought of evil.”
He tells Chouette why he had sent for her:
“I was bored all alone with those honest people.”
When Eugène Sue satisfies his monkish, bestial lust in the self-humiliation of man to the extent of making the maître d'école implore on his knees the old hag Chouette and the little imp Tortillard not to abandon him, the great moralist forgets that that is the height of diabolical satisfaction for Chouette. Just as Rudolph, precisely by the violent act of blinding the criminal, proved to him the power of physical force, which he wants to show him is insignificant, so Eugène Sue now teaches the maître d'école really to recognise the full power of the senses. He teaches him to understand that without it man is unmanned and becomes a helpless object of mockery for children. He convinces him that the world deserved his crimes, for he had only to lose his sight to be ill-treated by it. He robs him of his last human illusion, for so far the maître d'école believed in Chouette’s attachment to him. He had said to Rudolph: “She would let herself be thrown into the fire for me.” Eugène Sue, on the other hand, has the satisfaction of hearing the maître d'école cry out in the depths of despair:
“Mon dieu! Mon dieu! Mon dieu!”
He has learnt to “pray"! In this “appel involontaire de la commisération divine,” Eugène Sue sees “quelque chose de providentiel”. [spontaneous appeal for divine mercy ... something providential]
The first result of Rudolph’s Criticism is this spontaneous prayer. It is followed immediately by an involuntary atonement at Bouqueval farm, where the ghosts of those whom the maître d'école murdered appear to him in a dream.
We shall not give a detailed description of this dream. We next find the Critically reformed maître d'école fettered in the cellar of the “Bras rouge”, half devoured by rats, half starving and half insane as a result of being tortured by Chouette and Tortillard, and roaring like a beast. Tortillard had delivered Chouette to him. Let us watch the treatment he inflicts on her. He copies the hero Rudolph not only outwardly, by scratching out Chouette’s eyes, but morally too by repeating Rudolph’s hypocrisy and embellishing his cruel treatment with pious phrases. As soon as the maître d'école has Chouette in his power he gives vent to “une joie effrayante”, [terrifying joy] and his voice trembles with rage.
“You realise that I do not want to get it over at once.... Torture for torture.... I must have a long talk with you before killing you.... It is going to be terrible for you. First of all, you see ... since that dream at Bouqueval farm which brought all our crimes back before me, since that dream which nearly drove me mad ... and which will drive me mad ... a strange change has come over me.... I have become horrified at my past cruelty.... At first I would not let you torture the songstress [Fleur de Marie], but that was nothing.... By bringing me to this cellar and making me suffer cold and hunger.... you left me to the terror of my own thoughts.... Oh, you don’t know what it is to be alone.... isolation purified me. I should not have thought it possible ... a proof that I am perhaps less of a blackguard than before ... what an infinite joy I feel to have you in my power, you monster ... not in order to revenge myself but ... to avenge our victims.... Yes, I shall have done my duty when I have punished my accomplice with my own hand I am now horrified at my past murders, and yet ... don’t you find it strange? it is without fear and quite calmly that I am going to commit a terrible murder on you, with terrible refinements ... tell me, tell me ... do you understand that?”
In those few words the maître d'école goes through a whole gamut of moral casuistry.
His first words are a frank expression of his desire for vengeance. He wants to give torture for torture. He wants to murder Chouette and he wants to prolong her agony by a long sermon. And — delightful sophistry!-the speech with which he tortures her is a sermon on morals. He asserts that his dream at Bouqueval has improved him. At the same time he reveals the real effect of the dream by admitting that it almost drove him mad and that it will actually do so. He gives as a proof of his reform that he prevented Fleur de Marie from being tortured. Eugène Sue’s personages -earlier Chourineur and now the maître d'école — must express, as the result of their thoughts, as the conscious. motive of their actions, his own intention as a writer, which causes him to make them behave in a certain way and no other. They must continually say: I have reformed myself ‘in this, in that, etc. Since their life has no real content, their words must give vigorous tones to insignificant features like the protection of Fleur de Marie.
Having reported the salutary effect of his Bouqueval dream, the maître d'école must explain why Eugène Sue had him locked up in a cellar. He must find the novelist’s procedure reasonable. He must say to Chouette: by locking me up in a cellar, causing me to be gnawed by rats and to suffer hunger and thirst, you have completed my reform. Solitude has Purified me.
The beastly roar, the ‘wild fury, the terrible lust for vengeance with which the maître d'école welcomes Chouette are in complete contradiction to this moralising talk. They betray what kind of thoughts occupied him in his dungeon.
The maître d'école himself seems to realise this, but being a Critical moralist, he will know how to reconcile the contradictions.
He declares that the “infinite joy” of having Chouette in his power is precisely a sign of his reform, for his lust for vengeance is not a natural one but a moral one. He wants to avenge, not himself, but the common victims of Chouette and himself. If he murders her, he does not commit murder, he fulfils a duty. He does not avenge himself on her, he punishes his accomplice like an impartial judge. He shudders at his past murders and, nevertheless, marvelling at his own casuistry, he asks Chouette: “Don’t you find it strange? Without fear and quite calmly I am going to kill you.” On moral grounds that he does not reveal, he gloats at the same time over the picture of the murder that he is going to commit, as being terrible murder ... murder with terrible refinements.
It is in accord with the character of the maître d'école that he should murder Chouette, especially after the cruelty with which she treated him. But that he should commit murder on moral grounds, that he should give a moral interpretation to his savage pleasure in the terrible murder and the terrible refinements that he should show his remorse for the past murders precisely by committing a fresh one, that from a simple murderer he should become a murderer in a double sense, a moral murderer — all this is the glorious result of Rudolph’s Critical cure.
Chouette tries to get away from the maître d'école. He notices it and holds her fast.
“Keep still, Chouette, I must finish explaining to you how I gradually came to repentance.... This revelation will be hateful to you ... and it will also show you how pitiless I must be in the vengeance I want to wreak on you in the name of our victims.... I must hurry.... The joy of having you here in my hands makes the blood pound in my veins.... I shall have time to make the approach of your death terrifying to you by forcing you to listen to me.... I am blind ... and my thoughts take a shape, a body, such that they incessantly present to me visibly, almost palpably ... the features of my victims.... The ideas are reflected almost materially in my brain. When repentance is linked with an atonement of terrifying severity, an atonement that changes our life into a long sleeplessness filled with hallucinations of revenge or desperate reflections ... then, perhaps, the pardon of men follows remorse and atonement.”
The maître d'école continues with his hypocrisy which every minute betrays itself as such. Chouette must hear how he came by degrees to repentance. This revelation will be hateful to her, for it will prove that it is his duty to take a pitiless revenge on her, not in his own name, but in the name of their common victims. Suddenly the maître d'école interrupts his didactic lecture. He must, he says, “hurry” with his lecture, for the pleasure of having her in his hands makes the blood pound in his veins; that is a moral reason for cutting the lecture short! Then he calms his blood again. The long time that he takes in preaching her a moral sermon is not wasted for his revenge. It will “make the approach of death terrifying” for her. That is a different moral reason, one for protracting his sermon! And having such moral reasons he can safely resume his moral text where he left off.
The maître d'école describes correctly the condition to which isolation from the outer world reduces a man. For one to whom the sensuously perceptible world becomes a mere idea, for him mere ideas are transformed into sensuously perceptible beings. The figments of his brain assume corporeal form. A world of tangible, palpable ghosts is begotten within his mind. That is the secret of all pious visions and at the same time it is the general form of insanity. When the maître d'école repeats Rudolph’s words about the “power of repentance and atonement linked with terrible torments”, he does so in a state of semi-madness, thus proving in fact the connection between Christian consciousness of sin and insanity. Similarly, when the maître d'école considers the transformation of life into a night of dream filled with ghosts as the real result of repentance and atonement, he is expressing the true mystery of pure Criticism and of Christian reform, which consists in changing man into a ghost and his life into a life of dream.
At this point Eugène Sue realises how the salutary thoughts which he makes the blind robber prate after Rudolph will be made ridiculous by the robber’s treatment of Chouette. That is why he makes the maître d'école say:
“The salutary influence of these thoughts is such that my rage is appeased."'
So the maître d'école now admits that his moral wrath was nothing but profane rage.
“I lack courage ... strength ... will to kill you.... No, it is not for me to shed Your blood ... it would be ... murder.... Excusable murder, perhaps, but murder all the same.”
Chouette wounds the maître d'école with a dagger just in time. Eugène Sue can now let him kill her without any further moral casuistry.
“He uttered a cry of pain ... his fierce passion of vengeance, of rage and of bloodthirsty instinct, suddenly aroused and exacerbated by this attack, had a sudden and terrible outburst in which his already badly shaken reason was shattered.... Viper! I have felt your fang ... you will be sightless as I am.”
And he scratches her eyes out.
When the nature of the maître d'école, which has been only hypocritically, sophistically disguised, only ascetically repressed by Rudolph’s cure, breaks out, the outburst is all the more violent and terrifying. We must be grateful to Eugène Sue for his admission that the reason of the maître d'école was badly shaken by all the events which Rudolph has prepared.
“The last spark of his reason was extinguished in that cry of terror, in that cry of a damned soul” (he sees the ghosts of his murdered victims) “... the maître d'école rages and roars like a frenzied beast.... He tortures Chouette to death...
Herr Szeliga mutters under his breath:
“With the maître d'école there cannot be such a swift” (!) “and fortunate” (!) “transformation” (!) “as with Schurimann.”
Just as Rudolph sends Fleur de Marie into a convent, he makes the maître d'école an inmate of the Bicêtre asylum. He has paralysed his spiritual as well as his physical strength. And rightly. For the maître d'école sinned with his spiritual as well as his physical strength, and according to Rudolph’s penal theory the sinning forces must be annihilated.
But Eugène Sue has not yet consummated the “repentance and atonement linked with a terrible revenge”. The maître d'école recovers his reason, but fearing to be delivered to justice he remains in Bicêtre and pretends to be mad. Monsieur Sue forgets that “every word he said was to be a prayer”, whereas finally it is much more like the inarticulate howling and raving of a madman. Or does Monsieur Sue perhaps ironically put these manifestations of life on the same level as praying?
The idea underlying the punishment that Rudolph carried out in blinding the maître d'école — the isolation of the man and his soul from the outer world, the combination of legal punishment with theological torture — finds its ultimate expression in solitary confinement. That is why Monsieur Sue glorifies this system.
“How many centuries had to pass before it was realised that there is only one means of overcoming the rapidly spreading leprosy” (i.e., the corruption of morals in prisons) “which is threatening the body of society: isolation.”
Monsieur Sue shares the opinion of the worthy people who explain the spread of crime by the organisation of prisons. To remove the criminal from bad society he is left to his own society.
Eugène Sue says:
“I should consider myself lucky if my weak voice could he heard among all those which so rightly and so insistently demand the complete and absolute application of solitary confinement.”
Monsieur Sue’s wish has been only partially fulfilled. In the debates on solitary confinement in the Chamber of Deputies this year, even the official supporters of that system had to acknowledge that it leads sooner or later to insanity in the criminal. All sentences of imprisonment for more than ten years had therefore to be converted into deportation.
Had Messieurs Tocqueville and Beaumont studied Eugène Sue’s novel thoroughly they would certainly have secured complete and absolute application of solitary confinement.
If Eugène Sue deprives criminals with a sane mind of society in order to make them insane, he gives insane persons society to make them sane.
“Experience proves that isolation is as fatal for the insane as it is salutary for imprisoned criminals.”
If Monsieur Sue and his Critical hero Rudolph have not made law poorer by any mystery, whether through the Catholic penal theory or the Methodist solitary confinement, they have, on the other hand, enriched medicine with new mysteries, and after all, it is just as much of a service to discover new mysteries as to disclose old ones. In its report on the blinding of the maître d'école, Critical Criticism fully agrees with Monsieur Sue:
“When he is told he is deprived of the light of his eyes he does not even believe it.”
The maître d'école could not believe in the loss of his sight because in reality he could still see. Monsieur Sue is describing a new kind of cataract and is reporting a real mystery for mass-type, un-Critical ophthalmology.
The pupil is white after the operation, so it is a case of cataract of the crystalline lens. So far, this could, of course, he caused by injury to the envelope of the lens without causing much pain, though not entirely without pain. But as doctors achieve this result only by natural, not by Critical means, the only resort was to wait until inflammation set in after the injury and the exudation dimmed the lens.
A still greater miracle and greater mystery befall the maître d'école in the third chapter of the third book.
The man who has been blinded sees again,
“Chouette, the maître d'école and Tortillard saw the priest and Fleur de Marie.”
If we do not interpret this restoration of the maître d'école’s ability to see as an author’s miracle after the method of the Kritik der Synoptiker, the maître d'école must have had his cataract operated on again. Later he is blind again. So he used his eyes too soon and the irritation of the light caused inflammation which ended in paralysis of the retina and incurable amaurosis. It is another mystery for un-Critical ophthalmology that this process takes place here in a single second.
The hero Rudolph reveals a new theory to keep society upright by rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. Un-Critically considered, this theory is nothing but the theory of society as it is today. How little lacking it is in rewards for the good and punishments for the wicked! Compared with this revealed mystery, how un-Critical is the mass-type Communist Owen, who sees in punishment and reward the consecration of differences in social rank and the complete expression of a servile abasement.
It could be considered as a new revelation that Eugène Sue makes rewards derive from the judiciary — from a new appendix to the Penal Code — and not satisfied with one jurisdiction he invents a second. Unfortunately this revealed mystery, too, is the repetition of an old theory expounded in detail by Bentham in his work already mentioned [Théorie des peines et des récompenses]. On the other hand, we cannot deny Monsieur Eugène Sue the honour of having motivated and developed Bentham’s suggestion in an incomparably more Critical way than the latter. Whereas the mass-type Englishman keeps his feet on the ground, Sue’s deduction rises to the Critical region of the heavens. His argument is as follows:
“The supposed effects of heavenly wrath are materialised to deter the wicked. Why should not the effect of the divine reward of the good be similarly materialised and anticipated on earth?”
In the un-Critical view it is the other way round: the heavenly criminal theory has only idealised the earthly theory, just as divine reward is only an idealisation of human wage service. It is absolutely necessary that society should not reward all good people so that divine justice will have some advantage over human justice.
In depicting his Critical rewarding justice, Monsieur Sue gives an example of the feminine dogmatism that must have a formula and forms it according to the categories of what exists”, dogmatism which was censured with all the “tranquillity of knowledge” by Herr Edgar in Flora Tristan. For each point of the present penal code, which he retains, Monsieur Sue projects the addition of a counterpart in a reward code copied from it to the last detail. For easier survey we shall give his description of the complementary pairs in tabular form:
Name: Criminal Justice
Description: holds in its hand a sword to shorten the wicked by a head.
Purpose: Punishment of the wicked — imprisonment, infamy, deprivation of life. The people is notified of the terrible chastisements for the wicked.
Means of discovering the wicked: Police spying, mouchards, to keep watch over the wicked.
Method of ascertaining whether someone is wicked: Les assists du crime, criminal assizes. The public ministry points out and indicts the crimes of the accused for public vengeance.
Condition of the criminal after sentence: Under surveillance de la haute police. Is fed in prison. The state defrays expenses.
Execution: The criminal stands on the scaffold.
Critically Supplementing Justice
Name: Virtuous Justice
Description: holds in its hand a crown to raise the good by a head.
Purpose: Reward of the good, free board, honour, maintenance of life.
Means of discovering the Good: Espionnage de vertu, mouchards to keep watch over the virtuous.
Method of ascertaining whether someone is good: Assises de la vertu, virtue assizes. The public ministry points out and proclaims the noble deeds of the accused for public recognition.
Condition of the virtuous after sentence: Under surveillance de la haute charité morale. Is fed at home. The state defrays expenses.
Execution: Immediately opposite the scaffold of the criminal a pedestal is erected on which the grand homme de bien stands. — A pillory of virtue.
Moved by the sight of this picture, Monsieur Sue exclaims:
“ Alas! It is a utopia! But suppose a society were organised in this way!”
That would be the Critical organisation of society. We must defend this organisation against Eugène Sue’s reproach that up to now it has remained a utopia. Sue has again forgotten the “Virtue Prize” which is awarded every year in Paris and which he himself mentions. This prize is even organised in duplicate: the material prix Montyon for noble acts of men and women, and the prix rosière for girls of highest morality. There is even the wreath of roses demanded by Eugène Sue.
As far as spying on virtue and the supervision of supreme moral charity are concerned, they were organised long ago by the Jesuits. Moreover, the Journal des Débats, Siècle, Petites affiches de Paris, etc., point out and proclaim the virtues, noble acts and merits of all the Paris stockjobbers daily and at cost price not counting the pointing out and proclamation of political noble acts, for which each party has its own organ.
Old Voss remarked long ago that Homer is better than his gods. The “revealed mystery of all mysteries”, Rudolph, can therefore be made responsible for Eugène Sue’s ideas.
In addition, Herr Szeliga reports:
“Besides, the passages in which Eugène Sue interrupts the narration and introduces or concludes episodes are very numerous, and all are Critical.”
The juridical preventive means for the abolition of crime and hence of degeneracy within civilisation consists in the
“protective guardianship assumed by the state over the children of executed criminals or of those condemned to a life sentence”.
Sue wants to organise the subdivision of crime in a more liberal way. No family should any longer have a hereditary privilege to crime; free competition in crime should triumph over monopoly.
Monsieur Sue abolishes “rightlessness in the state” by reforming the section of the Code pénal on confidence tricks, and especially by the institution of paid lawyers for the poor. He finds that in Piedmont, Holland, etc., where there are lawyers for the poor, rightlessness in the state has been abolished. The only failing of French legislation is that it does not provide for payment of lawyers for the poor, has no lawyers restricted to serving the poor, and makes the legal limits of poverty too narrow. As if rightlessness did not begin in the very lawsuit itself, and as if it had not already been known for a long time in France that the law gives nothing, but only sanctions what exists. The already trivial differentiation between droit and fait seems still to be a mystère de Paris for the Critical novelist.
If we add to the Critical revelation of the mysteries of law the great reforms which Eugène Sue wants to institute in respect of huissiers [bailiffs], we shall understand the Paris Journal Satan. There we see the residents of a district in the city write to the “grand réformateur à tant la ligne” [great reformer at so much a line], that there is no gaslight yet in their streets. Monsieur Sue replies that he will deal with this shortcoming in the sixth volume of his Wandering Jew. Another part of the city complains of the shortcomings of preliminary education. He promises a preliminary education reform for that district of the city in the tenth volume of the Wandering Jew.