Analytical Essay
The Paradoxes of Power, Law, and Justice
section it began a story about the Histoire des Sénateurs Rufinius et Balisthène.
Right from the start the author tells the reader, who he assumes is ‘‘already
fully informed about the subject of the story that he is nonetheless obliged
to recount,’’ that Balisthène ‘‘always lived in a marvelous probity and an as-
siduity in his work that was little common among those of his profession.’’
Suddenly, this man disappeared ‘‘like a flash of lightning.’’ His wife, the
‘‘beautiful and virtuous Bérénice,’’ with her friends employed everyeffort to
So venomous was his hatred that he plotted to kill Balisthène (his cousin)
only two years after he had poisoned his wife Kéralie (with the help of his
personalphysicianToxarisof Rhodes).‘‘Asanevilmanhidesforalongtime
his malign inclinations, Rufinius could not prevent his vicious habits from
eventually surfacing.’’ Balisthène is dispatched, and at the end of the novel,
Rufinius is convicted of the murderand, afterconfessing to the deed on the
scaffold, is beheaded.
This of course is the story of the Giroux and Baillet affair, and all of
the main characters in the real episode appear with fictional, sometimes
Latin names in the novel: Pierre Baillet becomes Balisthène, Marie Fyot be-
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